A survey of 28S and 5S rRNA gene clusters, and telomeric repeats was performed using single and double FISH in the Taterillus genus (Rodentia, Muridae, Gerbillinae). Taterillus was previously demonstrated to have undergone a very recent and extensive chromosomal evolution. Our FISH results demonstrate that rRNA genes can vary in location and number irrespective of the phylogenetic relationships. Telomeric repeats were detected in pericentromeric and interstitial regions of several chromosomes, thus providing nonambiguous evolutionary footprints of Robertsonian and tandem translocation events. These footprints are discussed in reference to the molecular process of these karyotypical changes. Also, examples of colocation of rDNA clusters and telomeric repeats lend support to their possible involvement in nucleolus formation. Finally, the presence of rRNA genes, and the extensive amplification of telomeric repeats at specific loci within a double X-autosome translocated element which were not observed on the homologous Y1 and Y2, served as basis for an epigenomic hypothesis on X-autosome translocation viability in mammals.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel