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Cytogenet Cell Genet. 1980;28(1-2):10-23.

Chromosomal interrelationship of hamster species of the genus Mesocricetus.


The similarity of chromosomes and the mode by which differences occurred in the chromosomes of the species comprising the genus Mesocricetus, M. auratus (2n = 44), two "cryptic" species of M. brandti (2n = 44 and 2n = 42) and M. newtoni (2n = 38) were determined. Most of the autosomes and the sex chromosomes have either complete or partial G-band correspondence and thus provide definitive evidence for the taxonomic relationship of these species. The karyotypic differences occurred primarily as a result of deletion of sex chromosome heterochromatin and of autosomal translocations that frequently involved chromosomes with heterochromatic short arms or chromosomes bearing NOR's. Only one Robertsonian centric fusion occurred. Despite the conservatism of arrangement of the genetic material, the chromosomal distribution of heterochromatin diverged during the evolution of these species. M. brandti and newtoni each have a metacentric chromosome with a common long arm matching a submetacentric M. auratus autosome, but a short arm corresponding to two different M. auratus chromosomes. These translocations are crucial for explaining the direction of chromosomal evolution of these species and indicate that M. auratus was the commmon ancestral species and that M. brandti and newtoni subsequently evolved independently.

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