Special Issue "Chromosomal Evolution"

A special issue of Genes (ISSN 2073-4425). This special issue belongs to the section "Population and Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 September 2017).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Thomas Liehr
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Human Genetics, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany
Tel. +49 3641 9396850; Fax: +49 3641 9396852
Interests: small supernumerary marker chromosomes, acute leukemia, nuclear architecture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Chromosomal evolution is, nowadays, and more than ever, a highly relevant topic. The first chromosomes were visualized in the 1880s, and the latest modal human chromosome number was determined correctly in 1956; humans are eager to learn more about their own chromosomal constitution in comparison to other species. Chromosomal studies are the basis for understanding and correctly interpreting results obtained from DNA-samples using more sophisticated approaches, including molecular cytogenetics, molecular karyotyping, or the so-called next generation sequencing methods.

Chromosomal evolution is continuously ongoing on the microscopic and submicroscopic levels in every living cell. It can be observed within aging individuals during mitotic division (especially in cancer cells), and over many generations, leading, or at least providing in part, to speciation. In addition, chromosomal evolution can be observed in in vitro model systems, i.e., cell lines.

In this Special Issue, we would like to invite submissions of original research or review articles on any topic related to “Chromosomal Evolution”, through which we hope to explore new horizons of the exciting underlying mechanisms of evolution. We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Thomas Liehr
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • chromosome
  • chromosomal rearrangements
  • copy number variations
  • fragile sites
  • speciation
  • tumors
  • aging
  • evolution
  • karyotype
  • cytogenetics
  • molecular cytogenetics
  • molecular karyotyping
  • cell lines
  • next generation sequencing

Published Papers (27 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Speciation Theory of Carcinogenesis Explains Karyotypic Individuality and Long Latencies of Cancers
Genes 2018, 9(8), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9080402 - 09 Aug 2018
Abstract
It has been known for over 100 years that cancers have individual karyotypes and arise only years to decades after initiating carcinogens. However, there is still no coherent theory to explain these definitive characteristics of cancer. The prevailing mutation theory holds that cancers [...] Read more.
It has been known for over 100 years that cancers have individual karyotypes and arise only years to decades after initiating carcinogens. However, there is still no coherent theory to explain these definitive characteristics of cancer. The prevailing mutation theory holds that cancers are late because the primary cell must accumulate 3–8 causative mutations to become carcinogenic and that mutations, which induce chromosomal instability (CIN), generate the individual karyotypes of cancers. However, since there is still no proven set of mutations that transforms a normal to a cancer cell, we have recently advanced the theory that carcinogenesis is a form of speciation. This theory predicts carcinogens initiate cancer by inducing aneuploidy, which automatically unbalances thousands of genes and thus catalyzes chain-reactions of progressive aneuploidizations. Over time, these aneuploidizations have two endpoints, either non-viable karyotypes or very rarely karyotypes of new autonomous and immortal cancers. Cancer karyotypes are immortalized despite destabilizing congenital aneuploidy by clonal selections for autonomy—similar to those of conventional species. This theory predicts that the very low probability of converting the karyotype of a normal cell to that of a new autonomous cancer species by random aneuploidizations is the reason for the karyotypic individuality of new cancers and for the long latencies from carcinogens to cancers. In testing this theory, we observed: (1) Addition of mutagenic and non-mutagenic carcinogens to normal human and rat cells generated progressive aneuploidizations months before neoplastic transformation. (2) Sub-cloning of a neoplastic rat clone revealed heritable individual karyotypes, rather than the non-heritable karyotypes predicted by the CIN theory. (3) Analyses of neoplastic and preneoplastic karyotypes unexpectedly identified karyotypes with sets of 3–12 new marker chromosomes without detectable intermediates, consistent with single-step origins. We conclude that the speciation theory explains logically the long latencies from carcinogen exposure and the individuality of cancers. In addition, the theory supports the single-step origins of cancers, because karyotypic autonomy is all-or-nothing. Accordingly, we propose that preneoplastic aneuploidy and clonal neoplastic karyotypes provide more reliable therapeutic indications than current analyses of thousands of mutations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
Karyotype Variability and Inter-Population Genomic Differences in Freshwater Ostracods (Crustacea) Showing Geographical Parthenogenesis
Genes 2018, 9(3), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9030150 - 08 Mar 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Transitions from sexual to asexual reproduction are often associated with polyploidy and increased chromosomal plasticity in asexuals. We investigated chromosomes in the freshwater ostracod species Eucypris virens (Jurine, 1820), where sexual, asexual and mixed populations can be found. Our initial karyotyping of multiple [...] Read more.
Transitions from sexual to asexual reproduction are often associated with polyploidy and increased chromosomal plasticity in asexuals. We investigated chromosomes in the freshwater ostracod species Eucypris virens (Jurine, 1820), where sexual, asexual and mixed populations can be found. Our initial karyotyping of multiple populations from Europe and North Africa, both sexual and asexual, revealed a striking variability in chromosome numbers. This would suggest that chromosomal changes are likely to be accelerated in asexuals because the constraints of meiosis are removed. Hence, we employed comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) within and among sexual and asexual populations to get insights into E. virens genome arrangements. CGH disclosed substantial genomic imbalances among the populations analyzed, and three patterns of genome arrangement between these populations: 1. Only putative ribosomal DNA (rDNA)-bearing regions were conserved in the two populations compared indicating a high sequence divergence between these populations. This pattern is comparable with our findings at the interspecies level of comparison; 2. Chromosomal regions were shared by both populations to a varying extent with a distinct copy number variation in pericentromeric and presumable rDNA-bearing regions. This indicates a different rate of evolution in repetitive sequences; 3. A mosaic pattern of distribution of genomic material that can be explained as non-reciprocal genetic introgression and evidence of a hybrid origin of these individuals. We show an overall increased chromosomal dynamics in E. virens that is complementary with available phylogenetic and population genetic data reporting highly differentiated diploid sexual and asexual lineages with a wide variety of genetic backgrounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
Evolutionary Dynamics of the W Chromosome in Caenophidian Snakes
Genes 2018, 9(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9010005 - 28 Dec 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
The caenophidian (assigned also as “advanced”) snakes are traditionally viewed as a group of reptiles with a limited karyotypic variation and stable ZZ/ZW sex chromosomes. The W chromosomes of the caenophidian snakes are heterochromatic, and pioneering studies demonstrated that they are rich in [...] Read more.
The caenophidian (assigned also as “advanced”) snakes are traditionally viewed as a group of reptiles with a limited karyotypic variation and stable ZZ/ZW sex chromosomes. The W chromosomes of the caenophidian snakes are heterochromatic, and pioneering studies demonstrated that they are rich in repetitive elements. However, a comparative study of the evolutionary dynamics of the repetitive content of the W chromosome across the whole lineage is missing. Using molecular-cytogenetic techniques, we explored the distribution of four repetitive motifs (microsatellites GATA, GACA, AG and telomeric-like sequences), which are frequently accumulated in differentiated sex chromosomes in vertebrates, in the genomes of 13 species of the caenophidian snakes covering a wide phylogenetic spectrum of the lineage. The results demonstrate a striking variability in the morphology and the repetitive content of the W chromosomes even between closely-related species, which is in contrast to the homology and long-term stability of the gene content of the caenophidian Z chromosome. We uncovered that the tested microsatellite motifs are accumulated on the degenerated, heterochromatic W chromosomes in all tested species of the caenophidian snakes with the exception of the Javan file snake representing a basal clade. On the other hand, the presence of the accumulation of the telomeric-like sequences on the caenophidian W chromosome is evolutionary much less stable. Moreover, we demonstrated that large accumulations of telomeric-like motifs on the W chromosome contribute to sexual differences in the number of copies of the telomeric and telomeric-like repeats estimated by quantitative PCR, which might be confusing and incorrectly interpreted as sexual differences in telomere length. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
Evolution of Karyotypes in Chameleons
Genes 2017, 8(12), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8120382 - 12 Dec 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
New Insights into Phasmatodea Chromosomes
Genes 2017, 8(11), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8110327 - 17 Nov 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Currently, approximately 3000 species of stick insects are known; however, chromosome numbers, which range between 21 and 88, are known for only a few of these insects. Also, centromere banding staining (C-banding) patterns were described for fewer than 10 species, and fluorescence in [...] Read more.
Currently, approximately 3000 species of stick insects are known; however, chromosome numbers, which range between 21 and 88, are known for only a few of these insects. Also, centromere banding staining (C-banding) patterns were described for fewer than 10 species, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was applied exclusively in two Leptynia species. Interestingly, 10–25% of stick insects (Phasmatodea) are obligatory or facultative parthenogenetic. As clonal and/or bisexual reproduction can affect chromosomal evolution, stick insect karyotypes need to be studied more intensely. Chromosome preparation from embryos of five Phasmatodea species (Medauroidea extradentata, Sungaya inexpectata, Sipyloidea sipylus, Phaenopharos khaoyaiensis, and Peruphasma schultei) from four families were studied here by C-banding and FISH applying ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid (rDNA) and telomeric repeat probes. For three species, data on chromosome numbers and structure were obtained here for the first time, i.e., S. inexpectata, P. khaoyaiensis, and P. schultei. Large C-positive regions enriched with rDNA were identified in all five studied, distantly related species. Some of these C-positive blocks were enriched for telomeric repeats, as well. Chromosomal evolution of stick insects is characterized by variations in chromosome numbers as well as transposition and amplification of repetitive DNA sequences. Here, the first steps were made towards identification of individual chromosomes in Phasmatodea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
Origin and Evolution of the Neo-Sex Chromosomes in Pamphagidae Grasshoppers through Chromosome Fusion and Following Heteromorphization
Genes 2017, 8(11), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8110323 - 13 Nov 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
In most phylogenetic lineages, the evolution of sex chromosomes is accompanied by their heteromorphization and degradation of one of them. The neo-sex chromosomes are useful model for studying early stages of these processes. Recently two lineages of the neo-sex chromosomes on different stages [...] Read more.
In most phylogenetic lineages, the evolution of sex chromosomes is accompanied by their heteromorphization and degradation of one of them. The neo-sex chromosomes are useful model for studying early stages of these processes. Recently two lineages of the neo-sex chromosomes on different stages of heteromorphization was discovered in Pamphagidae family. The neo-sex chromosome heteromorphization was analyzed by generation of DNA probes derived from the neo-Xs and neo-Ys followed with chromosome painting in nineteen species of Pamphagidae family. The homologous regions of the neo-sex chromosomes were determined in closely related species with the painting procedure and image analysis with application of the Visualization of the Specific Signal in Silico software package. Results of these analyses and distribution of C-positive regions in the neo-sex chromosomes revealed details of the heteromorphization of the neo-sex chromosomes in species from both phylogenetic lineages of Pamphagidae grasshoppers. The hypothetical mechanism of the neo-Y degradation was suggested. It includes expansion of different repeats from the proximal neo-Y chromosome region by inversions, spreading them towards distal region. Amplification of these repeats leads to formation of C-positive regions and elimination of the C-negative regions located between them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
Next Generation Sequencing of Chromosome-Specific Libraries Sheds Light on Genome Evolution in Paleotetraploid Sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus)
Genes 2017, 8(11), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8110318 - 10 Nov 2017
Cited by 3
Abstract
Several whole genome duplication (WGD) events followed by rediploidization took place in the evolutionary history of vertebrates. Acipenserids represent a convenient model group for investigation of the consequences of WGD as their representatives underwent additional WGD events in different lineages resulting in ploidy [...] Read more.
Several whole genome duplication (WGD) events followed by rediploidization took place in the evolutionary history of vertebrates. Acipenserids represent a convenient model group for investigation of the consequences of WGD as their representatives underwent additional WGD events in different lineages resulting in ploidy level variation between species, and these processes are still ongoing. Earlier, we obtained a set of sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) chromosome-specific libraries by microdissection and revealed that they painted two or four pairs of whole sterlet chromosomes, as well as additional chromosomal regions, depending on rediploidization status and chromosomal rearrangements after genome duplication. In this study, we employed next generation sequencing to estimate the content of libraries derived from different paralogous chromosomes of sterlet. For this purpose, we aligned the obtained reads to the spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) reference genome to reveal syntenic regions between these two species having diverged 360 Mya. We also showed that the approach is effective for synteny prediction at various evolutionary distances and allows one to clearly distinguish paralogous chromosomes in polyploid genomes. We postulated that after the acipenserid-specific WGD sterlet karyotype underwent multiple interchromosomal rearrangements, but different chromosomes were involved in this process unequally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
Chromosomal Evolution in Mole Voles Ellobius (Cricetidae, Rodentia): Bizarre Sex Chromosomes, Variable Autosomes and Meiosis
Genes 2017, 8(11), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8110306 - 03 Nov 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
This study reports on extensive experimental material covering more than 30 years of studying the genetics of mole voles. Sex chromosomes of Ellobius demonstrate an extraordinary case of mammalian sex chromosomes evolution. Five species of mole voles own three types of sex chromosomes; [...] Read more.
This study reports on extensive experimental material covering more than 30 years of studying the genetics of mole voles. Sex chromosomes of Ellobius demonstrate an extraordinary case of mammalian sex chromosomes evolution. Five species of mole voles own three types of sex chromosomes; typical for placentals: XY♂/XX♀; and atypical X0♂/X0♀; or XX♂/XX♀. Mechanisms of sex determination in all Ellobius species remain enigmatic. It was supposed that the Y chromosome was lost twice and independently in subgenera Bramus and Ellobius. Previous to the Y being lost, the X chromosome in distinct species obtained some parts of the Y chromosome, with or without Sry, and accumulated one or several copies of the Eif2s3y gene. Along with enormous variations of sex chromosomes, genes of sex determination pathway and autosomes, and five mole vole species demonstrate ability to establish different meiotic mechanisms, which stabilize their genetic systems and make it possible to overcome the evolutionary deadlocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
Chromosome Evolution in the Free-Living Flatworms: First Evidence of Intrachromosomal Rearrangements in Karyotype Evolution of Macrostomum lignano (Platyhelminthes, Macrostomida)
Genes 2017, 8(11), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8110298 - 30 Oct 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
The free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano is a hidden tetraploid. Its genome was formed by a recent whole genome duplication followed by chromosome fusions. Its karyotype (2n = 8) consists of a pair of large chromosomes (MLI1), which contain regions of all other chromosomes, [...] Read more.
The free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano is a hidden tetraploid. Its genome was formed by a recent whole genome duplication followed by chromosome fusions. Its karyotype (2n = 8) consists of a pair of large chromosomes (MLI1), which contain regions of all other chromosomes, and three pairs of small metacentric chromosomes. Comparison of MLI1 with metacentrics was performed by painting with microdissected DNA probes and fluorescent in situ hybridization of unique DNA fragments. Regions of MLI1 homologous to small metacentrics appeared to be contiguous. Besides the loss of DNA repeat clusters (pericentromeric and telomeric repeats and the 5S rDNA cluster) from MLI1, the difference between small metacentrics MLI2 and MLI4 and regions homologous to them in MLI1 were revealed. Abnormal karyotypes found in the inbred DV1/10 subline were analyzed, and structurally rearranged chromosomes were described with the painting technique, suggesting the mechanism of their origin. The revealed chromosomal rearrangements generate additional diversity, opening the way toward massive loss of duplicated genes from a duplicated genome. Our findings suggest that the karyotype of M. lignano is in the early stage of genome diploidization after whole genome duplication, and further studies on M. lignano and closely related species can address many questions about karyotype evolution in animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
Chromosome Synapsis and Recombination in Male Hybrids between Two Chromosome Races of the Common Shrew (Sorex araneus L., Soricidae, Eulipotyphla)
Genes 2017, 8(10), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8100282 - 20 Oct 2017
Abstract
Hybrid zones between chromosome races of the common shrew (Sorex araneus) provide exceptional models to study the potential role of chromosome rearrangements in the initial steps of speciation. The Novosibirsk and Tomsk races differ by a series of Robertsonian fusions with [...] Read more.
Hybrid zones between chromosome races of the common shrew (Sorex araneus) provide exceptional models to study the potential role of chromosome rearrangements in the initial steps of speciation. The Novosibirsk and Tomsk races differ by a series of Robertsonian fusions with monobrachial homology. They form a narrow hybrid zone and generate hybrids with both simple (chain of three chromosomes) and complex (chain of eight or nine) synaptic configurations. Using immunolocalisation of the meiotic proteins, we examined chromosome pairing and recombination in males from the hybrid zone. Homozygotes and simple heterozygotes for Robertsonian fusions showed a low frequency of synaptic aberrations (<10%). The carriers of complex synaptic configurations showed multiple pairing abnormalities, which might lead to reduced fertility. The recombination frequency in the proximal regions of most chromosomes of all karyotypes was much lower than in the other regions. The strong suppression of recombination in the pericentromeric regions and co-segregation of race specific chromosomes involved in the long chains would be expected to lead to linkage disequilibrium between genes located there. Genic differentiation, together with the high frequency of pairing aberrations in male carriers of the long chains, might contribute to maintenance of the narrow hybrid zone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
X Chromosome Evolution in Cetartiodactyla
Genes 2017, 8(9), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8090216 - 31 Aug 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
The phenomenon of a remarkable conservation of the X chromosome in eutherian mammals has been first described by Susumu Ohno in 1964. A notable exception is the cetartiodactyl X chromosome, which varies widely in morphology and G-banding pattern between species. It is hypothesized [...] Read more.
The phenomenon of a remarkable conservation of the X chromosome in eutherian mammals has been first described by Susumu Ohno in 1964. A notable exception is the cetartiodactyl X chromosome, which varies widely in morphology and G-banding pattern between species. It is hypothesized that this sex chromosome has undergone multiple rearrangements that changed the centromere position and the order of syntenic segments over the last 80 million years of Cetartiodactyla speciation. To investigate its evolution we have selected 26 evolutionarily conserved bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones from the cattle CHORI-240 library evenly distributed along the cattle X chromosome. High-resolution BAC maps of the X chromosome on a representative range of cetartiodactyl species from different branches: pig (Suidae), alpaca (Camelidae), gray whale (Cetacea), hippopotamus (Hippopotamidae), Java mouse-deer (Tragulidae), pronghorn (Antilocapridae), Siberian musk deer (Moschidae), and giraffe (Giraffidae) were obtained by fluorescent in situ hybridization. To trace the X chromosome evolution during fast radiation in specious families, we performed mapping in several cervids (moose, Siberian roe deer, fallow deer, and Pere David’s deer) and bovid (muskox, goat, sheep, sable antelope, and cattle) species. We have identified three major conserved synteny blocks and rearrangements in different cetartiodactyl lineages and found that the recently described phenomenon of the evolutionary new centromere emergence has taken place in the X chromosome evolution of Cetartiodactyla at least five times. We propose the structure of the putative ancestral cetartiodactyl X chromosome by reconstructing the order of syntenic segments and centromere position for key groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
Intrachromosomal Rearrangements in Rodents from the Perspective of Comparative Region-Specific Painting
Genes 2017, 8(9), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8090215 - 30 Aug 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
It has long been hypothesized that chromosomal rearrangements play a central role in different evolutionary processes, particularly in speciation and adaptation. Interchromosomal rearrangements have been extensively mapped using chromosome painting. However, intrachromosomal rearrangements have only been described using molecular cytogenetics in a limited [...] Read more.
It has long been hypothesized that chromosomal rearrangements play a central role in different evolutionary processes, particularly in speciation and adaptation. Interchromosomal rearrangements have been extensively mapped using chromosome painting. However, intrachromosomal rearrangements have only been described using molecular cytogenetics in a limited number of mammals, including a few rodent species. This situation is unfortunate because intrachromosomal rearrangements are more abundant than interchromosomal rearrangements and probably contain essential phylogenomic information. Significant progress in the detection of intrachromosomal rearrangement is now possible, due to recent advances in molecular biology and bioinformatics. We investigated the level of intrachromosomal rearrangement in the Arvicolinae subfamily, a species-rich taxon characterized by very high rate of karyotype evolution. We made a set of region specific probes by microdissection for a single syntenic region represented by the p-arm of chromosome 1 of Alexandromys oeconomus, and hybridized the probes onto the chromosomes of four arvicolines (Microtus agrestis, Microtus arvalis, Myodes rutilus, and Dicrostonyx torquatus). These experiments allowed us to show the intrachromosomal rearrangements in the subfamily at a significantly higher level of resolution than previously described. We found a number of paracentric inversions in the karyotypes of M. agrestis and M. rutilus, as well as multiple inversions and a centromere shift in the karyotype of M. arvalis. We propose that during karyotype evolution, arvicolines underwent a significant number of complex intrachromosomal rearrangements that were not previously detected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessArticle
Reticulate Evolution of the Rock Lizards: Meiotic Chromosome Dynamics and Spermatogenesis in Diploid and Triploid Males of the Genus Darevskia
Genes 2017, 8(6), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8060149 - 24 May 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
Knowing whether triploid hybrids resulting from natural hybridization of parthenogenetic and bisexual species are fertile is crucial for understanding the mechanisms of reticulate evolution in rock lizards. Here, using males of the bisexual diploid rock lizard species Darevskia raddei nairensis and Darevskia valentini [...] Read more.
Knowing whether triploid hybrids resulting from natural hybridization of parthenogenetic and bisexual species are fertile is crucial for understanding the mechanisms of reticulate evolution in rock lizards. Here, using males of the bisexual diploid rock lizard species Darevskia raddei nairensis and Darevskia valentini and a triploid hybrid male Darevskia unisexualis × Darevskia valentini, we performed karyotyping and comparative immunocytochemistry of chromosome synapsis and investigated the distribution of RAD51 and MLH1 foci in spread spermatocyte nuclei in meiotic prophase I. Three chromosome sets were found to occur in cell nuclei in the D. unisexualis × D. valentini hybrid, two originating from a parthenogenetic D. unisexualis female and one from the D. valentini male. Despite this distorted chromosome synapsis and incomplete double-strand breaks repair in meiotic prophase I, the number of mismatch repair foci in the triploid hybrid was enough to pass through both meiotic divisions. The defects in synapsis and repair did not arrest meiosis or spermatogenesis. Numerous abnormal mature spermatids were observed in the testes of the studied hybrid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Did Lizards Follow Unique Pathways in Sex Chromosome Evolution?
Genes 2018, 9(5), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9050239 - 03 May 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Reptiles show remarkable diversity in modes of reproduction and sex determination, including high variation in the morphology of sex chromosomes, ranging from homomorphic to highly heteromorphic. Additionally, the co-existence of genotypic sex determination (GSD) and temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) within and among sister [...] Read more.
Reptiles show remarkable diversity in modes of reproduction and sex determination, including high variation in the morphology of sex chromosomes, ranging from homomorphic to highly heteromorphic. Additionally, the co-existence of genotypic sex determination (GSD) and temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) within and among sister clades makes this group an attractive model to study and understand the evolution of sex chromosomes. This is particularly so with Lizards (Order Squamata) which, among reptiles, show extraordinary morphological diversity. They also show no particular pattern of sex chromosome degeneration of the kind observed in mammals, birds and or even in snakes. We therefore speculate that sex determination sensu sex chromosome evolution is labile and rapid and largely follows independent trajectories within lizards. Here, we review the current knowledge on the evolution of sex chromosomes in lizards and discuss how sex chromosome evolution within that group differs from other amniote taxa, facilitating unique evolutionary pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
Karyotype Evolution in Birds: From Conventional Staining to Chromosome Painting
Genes 2018, 9(4), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9040181 - 27 Mar 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
In the last few decades, there have been great efforts to reconstruct the phylogeny of Neoaves based mainly on DNA sequencing. Despite the importance of karyotype data in phylogenetic studies, especially with the advent of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques using different [...] Read more.
In the last few decades, there have been great efforts to reconstruct the phylogeny of Neoaves based mainly on DNA sequencing. Despite the importance of karyotype data in phylogenetic studies, especially with the advent of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques using different types of probes, the use of chromosomal data to clarify phylogenetic proposals is still minimal. Additionally, comparative chromosome painting in birds is restricted to a few orders, while in mammals, for example, virtually all orders have already been analyzed using this method. Most reports are based on comparisons using Gallus gallus probes, and only a small number of species have been analyzed with more informative sets of probes, such as those from Leucopternis albicollis and Gyps fulvus, which show ancestral macrochromosomes rearranged in alternative patterns. Despite this, it is appropriate to review the available cytogenetic information and possible phylogenetic conclusions. In this report, the authors gather both classical and molecular cytogenetic data and describe some interesting and unique characteristics of karyotype evolution in birds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
Vertebrate Genome Evolution in the Light of Fish Cytogenomics and rDNAomics
Genes 2018, 9(2), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9020096 - 14 Feb 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
To understand the cytogenomic evolution of vertebrates, we must first unravel the complex genomes of fishes, which were the first vertebrates to evolve and were ancestors to all other vertebrates. We must not forget the immense time span during which the fish genomes [...] Read more.
To understand the cytogenomic evolution of vertebrates, we must first unravel the complex genomes of fishes, which were the first vertebrates to evolve and were ancestors to all other vertebrates. We must not forget the immense time span during which the fish genomes had to evolve. Fish cytogenomics is endowed with unique features which offer irreplaceable insights into the evolution of the vertebrate genome. Due to the general DNA base compositional homogeneity of fish genomes, fish cytogenomics is largely based on mapping DNA repeats that still represent serious obstacles in genome sequencing and assembling, even in model species. Localization of repeats on chromosomes of hundreds of fish species and populations originating from diversified environments have revealed the biological importance of this genomic fraction. Ribosomal genes (rDNA) belong to the most informative repeats and in fish, they are subject to a more relaxed regulation than in higher vertebrates. This can result in formation of a literal ‘rDNAome’ consisting of more than 20,000 copies with their high proportion employed in extra-coding functions. Because rDNA has high rates of transcription and recombination, it contributes to genome diversification and can form reproductive barrier. Our overall knowledge of fish cytogenomics grows rapidly by a continuously increasing number of fish genomes sequenced and by use of novel sequencing methods improving genome assembly. The recently revealed exceptional compositional heterogeneity in an ancient fish lineage (gars) sheds new light on the compositional genome evolution in vertebrates generally. We highlight the power of synergy of cytogenetics and genomics in fish cytogenomics, its potential to understand the complexity of genome evolution in vertebrates, which is also linked to clinical applications and the chromosomal backgrounds of speciation. We also summarize the current knowledge on fish cytogenomics and outline its main future avenues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
Chromosome Evolution in Marsupials
Genes 2018, 9(2), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes9020072 - 06 Feb 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Marsupials typically possess very large, distinctive chromosomes that make them excellent subjects for cytogenetic analysis, and the high level of conservation makes it relatively easy to track chromosome evolution. There are two speciose marsupial families with contrasting rates of karyotypic evolution that could [...] Read more.
Marsupials typically possess very large, distinctive chromosomes that make them excellent subjects for cytogenetic analysis, and the high level of conservation makes it relatively easy to track chromosome evolution. There are two speciose marsupial families with contrasting rates of karyotypic evolution that could provide insight into the mechanisms driving genome reshuffling and speciation. The family Dasyuridae displays exceptional karyotype conservation with all karyotyped species possessing a 2n = 14 karyotype similar to that predicted for the ancestral marsupial. In contrast, the family Macropodidae has experienced a higher rate of genomic rearrangement and one genus of macropods, the rock-wallabies (Petrogale), has experienced extensive reshuffling. For at least some recently diverged Petrogale species, there is still gene flow despite hybrid fertility issues, making this species group an exceptional model for studying speciation. This review highlights the unique chromosome features of marsupial chromosomes, particularly for these two contrasting families, and the value that a combined cytogenetics, genomics, and epigenomics approach will have for testing models of genome evolution and speciation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
Amphibian and Avian Karyotype Evolution: Insights from Lampbrush Chromosome Studies
Genes 2017, 8(11), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8110311 - 08 Nov 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
Amphibian and bird karyotypes typically have a complex organization, which makes them difficult for standard cytogenetic analysis. That is, amphibian chromosomes are generally large, enriched with repetitive elements, and characterized by the absence of informative banding patterns. The majority of avian karyotypes comprise [...] Read more.
Amphibian and bird karyotypes typically have a complex organization, which makes them difficult for standard cytogenetic analysis. That is, amphibian chromosomes are generally large, enriched with repetitive elements, and characterized by the absence of informative banding patterns. The majority of avian karyotypes comprise a small number of relatively large macrochromosomes and numerous tiny morphologically undistinguishable microchromosomes. A good progress in investigation of amphibian and avian chromosome evolution became possible with the usage of giant lampbrush chromosomes typical for growing oocytes. Due to the giant size, peculiarities of organization and enrichment with cytological markers, lampbrush chromosomes can serve as an opportune model for comprehensive high-resolution cytogenetic and cytological investigations. Here, we review the main findings on chromosome evolution in amphibians and birds that were obtained using lampbrush chromosomes. In particular, we discuss the data on evolutionary chromosomal rearrangements, accumulation of polymorphisms, evolution of sex chromosomes as well as chromosomal changes during clonal reproduction of interspecies hybrids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
Impact of Repetitive Elements on the Y Chromosome Formation in Plants
Genes 2017, 8(11), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8110302 - 01 Nov 2017
Cited by 8
Abstract
In contrast to animals, separate sexes and sex chromosomes in plants are very rare. Although the evolution of sex chromosomes has been the subject of numerous studies, the impact of repetitive sequences on sex chromosome architecture is not fully understood. New genomic approaches [...] Read more.
In contrast to animals, separate sexes and sex chromosomes in plants are very rare. Although the evolution of sex chromosomes has been the subject of numerous studies, the impact of repetitive sequences on sex chromosome architecture is not fully understood. New genomic approaches shed light on the role of satellites and transposable elements in the process of Y chromosome evolution. We discuss the impact of repetitive sequences on the structure and dynamics of sex chromosomes with specific focus on Rumex acetosa and Silene latifolia. Recent papers showed that both the expansion and shrinkage of the Y chromosome is influenced by sex-specific regulation of repetitive DNA spread. We present a view that the dynamics of Y chromosome formation is an interplay of genetic and epigenetic processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
A Narrowing of the Phenotypic Diversity Range after Large Rearrangements of the Karyotype in Salmonidae: The Relationship between Saltational Genome Rearrangements and Gradual Adaptive Evolution
Genes 2017, 8(11), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8110297 - 27 Oct 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
The problem of how a gradual development of ecological and morphological adaptations combines with large genome rearrangements, which have been found to occur in the phylogeny of many groups of organisms, is a matter of discussion in the literature. The objective of this [...] Read more.
The problem of how a gradual development of ecological and morphological adaptations combines with large genome rearrangements, which have been found to occur in the phylogeny of many groups of organisms, is a matter of discussion in the literature. The objective of this work was to study the problem with the example of salmonids, whose evolution included at least six events of multiple chromosome fusions. Large karyotype rearrangements are associated with a decrease in ecological and morphological diversity in salmonids. In the above example, genome rearrangements seem to distort the function of the genetic systems that are responsible for the occurrence of certain ecological forms in salmonids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
Open AccessReview
How Next-Generation Sequencing Has Aided Our Understanding of the Sequence Composition and Origin of B Chromosomes
Genes 2017, 8(11), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8110294 - 25 Oct 2017
Cited by 14
Abstract
Accessory, supernumerary, or—most simply—B chromosomes, are found in many eukaryotic karyotypes. These small chromosomes do not follow the usual pattern of segregation, but rather are transmitted in a higher than expected frequency. As increasingly being demonstrated by next-generation sequencing (NGS), their structure comprises [...] Read more.
Accessory, supernumerary, or—most simply—B chromosomes, are found in many eukaryotic karyotypes. These small chromosomes do not follow the usual pattern of segregation, but rather are transmitted in a higher than expected frequency. As increasingly being demonstrated by next-generation sequencing (NGS), their structure comprises fragments of standard (A) chromosomes, although in some plant species, their sequence also includes contributions from organellar genomes. Transcriptomic analyses of various animal and plant species have revealed that, contrary to what used to be the common belief, some of the B chromosome DNA is protein-encoding. This review summarizes the progress in understanding B chromosome biology enabled by the application of next-generation sequencing technology and state-of-the-art bioinformatics. In particular, a contrast is drawn between a direct sequencing approach and a strategy based on a comparative genomics as alternative routes that can be taken towards the identification of B chromosome sequences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
Exceptional Chromosomal Evolution and Cryptic Speciation of Blind Mole Rats Nannospalax leucodon (Spalacinae, Rodentia) from South-Eastern Europe
Genes 2017, 8(11), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8110292 - 25 Oct 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
Mole rats are exclusively subterranean and highly specialized rodents. Their long lifespans, remarkable anti-cancer mechanisms, and various distinctive adaptive features make them a useful research model. Moreover, opposing convergence of morphological traits, they have developed extremely high karyotype variability. Thus, 74 chromosomal forms [...] Read more.
Mole rats are exclusively subterranean and highly specialized rodents. Their long lifespans, remarkable anti-cancer mechanisms, and various distinctive adaptive features make them a useful research model. Moreover, opposing convergence of morphological traits, they have developed extremely high karyotype variability. Thus, 74 chromosomal forms have been described so far and new ones are being revealed continuously. These evolved during the process of rapid radiation and occur in different biogeographical regions. During research into their reproductive biology we have already provided substantial evidence for species-level separation of these taxa. Here, we review diverse chromosomal forms of the lesser blind mole rat, Mediterranean Nannospalax leucodon, distributed in South-eastern Europe, their karyotype records, biogeography, origin, and phylogeny from our extensive research. In the light of new data from molecular genetic studies, we question some former valuations and propose a cryptospecies rank for seven reproductively isolated chromosomal forms with sympatric and parapatric distribution and clear ecogeographical discrepances in their habitats, as well as new experimental and theoretical methods for understanding the courses of speciation of these unique fossorial mammals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
Chromosome Evolution in Connection with Repetitive Sequences and Epigenetics in Plants
Genes 2017, 8(10), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8100290 - 24 Oct 2017
Cited by 15
Abstract
Chromosome evolution is a fundamental aspect of evolutionary biology. The evolution of chromosome size, structure and shape, number, and the change in DNA composition suggest the high plasticity of nuclear genomes at the chromosomal level. Repetitive DNA sequences, which represent a conspicuous fraction [...] Read more.
Chromosome evolution is a fundamental aspect of evolutionary biology. The evolution of chromosome size, structure and shape, number, and the change in DNA composition suggest the high plasticity of nuclear genomes at the chromosomal level. Repetitive DNA sequences, which represent a conspicuous fraction of every eukaryotic genome, particularly in plants, are found to be tightly linked with plant chromosome evolution. Different classes of repetitive sequences have distinct distribution patterns on the chromosomes. Mounting evidence shows that repetitive sequences may play multiple generative roles in shaping the chromosome karyotypes in plants. Furthermore, recent development in our understanding of the repetitive sequences and plant chromosome evolution has elucidated the involvement of a spectrum of epigenetic modification. In this review, we focused on the recent evidence relating to the distribution pattern of repetitive sequences in plant chromosomes and highlighted their potential relevance to chromosome evolution in plants. We also discussed the possible connections between evolution and epigenetic alterations in chromosome structure and repatterning, such as heterochromatin formation, centromere function, and epigenetic-associated transposable element inactivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
Chromosomal Evolution in Chiroptera
Genes 2017, 8(10), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8100272 - 13 Oct 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
Chiroptera is the second largest order among mammals, with over 1300 species in 21 extant families. The group is extremely diverse in several aspects of its natural history, including dietary strategies, ecology, behavior and morphology. Bat genomes show ample chromosome diversity (from 2n [...] Read more.
Chiroptera is the second largest order among mammals, with over 1300 species in 21 extant families. The group is extremely diverse in several aspects of its natural history, including dietary strategies, ecology, behavior and morphology. Bat genomes show ample chromosome diversity (from 2n = 14 to 62). As with other mammalian orders, Chiroptera is characterized by clades with low, moderate and extreme chromosomal change. In this article, we will discuss trends of karyotypic evolution within distinct bat lineages (especially Phyllostomidae, Hipposideridae and Rhinolophidae), focusing on two perspectives: evolution of genome architecture, modes of chromosomal evolution, and the use of chromosome data to resolve taxonomic problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
Chromosomal Evolution in Lower Vertebrates: Sex Chromosomes in Neotropical Fishes
Genes 2017, 8(10), 258; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8100258 - 05 Oct 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
Abstract: Fishes exhibit the greatest diversity of species among vertebrates, offering a number of relevant models for genetic and evolutionary studies. The investigation of sex chromosome differentiation is a very active and striking research area of fish cytogenetics, as fishes represent one [...] Read more.
Abstract: Fishes exhibit the greatest diversity of species among vertebrates, offering a number of relevant models for genetic and evolutionary studies. The investigation of sex chromosome differentiation is a very active and striking research area of fish cytogenetics, as fishes represent one of the most vital model groups. Neotropical fish species show an amazing variety of sex chromosome systems, where different stages of differentiation can be found, ranging from homomorphic to highly differentiated sex chromosomes. Here, we draw attention on the impact of recent developments in molecular cytogenetic analyses that helped to elucidate many unknown questions about fish sex chromosome evolution, using excellent characiform models occurring in the Neotropical region, namely the Erythrinidae family and the Triportheus genus. While in Erythrinidae distinct XY and/or multiple XY-derived sex chromosome systems have independently evolved at least four different times, representatives of Triportheus show an opposite scenario, i.e., highly conserved ZZ/ZW system with a monophyletic origin. In both cases, recent molecular approaches, such as mapping of repetitive DNA classes, comparative genomic hybridization (CGH), and whole chromosome painting (WCP), allowed us to unmask several new features linked to the molecular composition and differentiation processes of sex chromosomes in fishes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessReview
Satellite DNA: An Evolving Topic
Genes 2017, 8(9), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8090230 - 18 Sep 2017
Cited by 31
Abstract
Satellite DNA represents one of the most fascinating parts of the repetitive fraction of the eukaryotic genome. Since the discovery of highly repetitive tandem DNA in the 1960s, a lot of literature has extensively covered various topics related to the structure, organization, function, [...] Read more.
Satellite DNA represents one of the most fascinating parts of the repetitive fraction of the eukaryotic genome. Since the discovery of highly repetitive tandem DNA in the 1960s, a lot of literature has extensively covered various topics related to the structure, organization, function, and evolution of such sequences. Today, with the advent of genomic tools, the study of satellite DNA has regained a great interest. Thus, Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), together with high-throughput in silico analysis of the information contained in NGS reads, has revolutionized the analysis of the repetitive fraction of the eukaryotic genomes. The whole of the historical and current approaches to the topic gives us a broad view of the function and evolution of satellite DNA and its role in chromosomal evolution. Currently, we have extensive information on the molecular, chromosomal, biological, and population factors that affect the evolutionary fate of satellite DNA, knowledge that gives rise to a series of hypotheses that get on well with each other about the origin, spreading, and evolution of satellite DNA. In this paper, I review these hypotheses from a methodological, conceptual, and historical perspective and frame them in the context of chromosomal organization and evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Open AccessOpinion
Potential Role of Phase Separation of Repetitive DNA in Chromosomal Organization
Genes 2017, 8(10), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8100279 - 18 Oct 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
The basic principles of chromosomal organization in eukaryotic cells remain elusive. Current mainstream research efforts largely concentrate on searching for critical packaging proteins involved in organizing chromosomes. I have taken a different perspective, by considering the role of genomic information in chromatins. In [...] Read more.
The basic principles of chromosomal organization in eukaryotic cells remain elusive. Current mainstream research efforts largely concentrate on searching for critical packaging proteins involved in organizing chromosomes. I have taken a different perspective, by considering the role of genomic information in chromatins. In particular, I put forward the concept that repetitive DNA elements are key chromosomal packaging modules, and their intrinsic property of homology-based interaction can drive chromatin folding. Many repetitive DNA families have high copy numbers and clustered distribution patterns in the linear genomes. These features may facilitate the interactions among members in the same repeat families. In this paper, the potential liquid–liquid phase transition of repetitive DNAs that is induced by their extensive interaction in chromosomes will be considered. I propose that the interaction among repetitive DNAs may lead to phase separation of interacting repetitive DNAs from bulk chromatins. Phase separation of repetitive DNA may provide a physical mechanism that drives rapid massive changes of chromosomal conformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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