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Genes 2017, 8(12), 382;

Evolution of Karyotypes in Chameleons

Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, 12844 Prague, Czech Republic
Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics, The Czech Academy of Sciences, 27721 Liběchov, Czech Republic
Prague Zoological Garden, 17100 Prague, Czech Republic
Department of Experimental Biology, Faculty of Experimental Sciences, University of Jaén, 23071 Jaén, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Thomas Liehr
Received: 1 November 2017 / Revised: 29 November 2017 / Accepted: 30 November 2017 / Published: 12 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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The reconstruction of the evolutionary dynamics of karyotypes and sex determining systems in squamate reptiles is precluded by the lack of data in many groups including most chameleons (Squamata: Acrodonta: Chamaeleonidae). We performed cytogenetic analysis in 16 species of chameleons from 8 genera covering the phylogenetic diversity of the family and also phylogenetic reconstruction of karyotype evolution in this group. In comparison to other squamates, chameleons demonstrate rather variable karyotypes, differing in chromosome number, morphology and presence of interstitial telomeric signal (ITS). On the other hand, the location of rDNA is quite conserved among chameleon species. Phylogenetic analysis combining our new results and previously published data tentatively suggests that the ancestral chromosome number for chameleons is 2n = 36, which is the same as assumed for other lineages of the clade Iguania, i.e., agamids and iguanas. In general, we observed a tendency for the reduction of chromosome number during the evolution of chameleons, however, in Rieppeleon brevicaudatus, we uncovered a chromosome number of 2n = 62, very unusual among squamates, originating from a number of chromosome splits. Despite the presence of the highly differentiated ZZ/ZW sex chromosomes in the genus Furcifer, we did not detect any unequivocal sexual differences in the karyotypes of any other studied species of chameleons tested using differential staining and comparative genomic hybridization, suggesting that sex chromosomes in most chameleons are only poorly differentiated. View Full-Text
Keywords: karyotype evolution; ITS; rDNA; sex chromosomes; ancestral chromosome number; Chamaeleonidae karyotype evolution; ITS; rDNA; sex chromosomes; ancestral chromosome number; Chamaeleonidae

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Rovatsos, M.; Altmanová, M.; Johnson Pokorná, M.; Velenský, P.; Sánchez Baca, A.; Kratochvíl, L. Evolution of Karyotypes in Chameleons. Genes 2017, 8, 382.

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