Exceptional minute sex-specific region in the X0 mammal, Ryukyu spiny rat

Chromosome Res. 2007;15(2):175-87. doi: 10.1007/s10577-006-1093-y. Epub 2007 Feb 12.


The Ryukyu spiny rats (genus Tokudaia) inhabit only three islands in the Nansei Shoto archipelago in Japan, and have the variations of karyotype among the islands. The chromosome number of T. osimensis in Amami-Oshima Island is 2n = 25, and T. tokunoshimensis in Tokunoshima Island is 2n = 45, and the two species have X0 sex chromosome constitution with no cytogenetically visible Y chromosome in both sexes. We constructed the standard ideograms for these species at the 100 and 200 band levels. Comparing the banding patterns between these species, it was suggested that at least 10 times the number of Robertsonian fusions occurred in T. osimensis chromosomes. However, no karyotypic differences were observed between sexes in each species. To detect the sex-specific chromosomal region of these X0 species we applied the comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) method. Although the male- and female-derived gains and losses were detected in several chromosome regions, all of them were located in the heterochromatic and/or telomeric regions. This result suggested that the differences detected by CGH might be caused by the polymorphism on the copy numbers of repeated sequences in the heterochromatic and telomeric regions. Our result indicated that the sex-specific region, where the key to sex determination lies, is very minute in X0 species of Tokudaia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromosome Banding
  • Chromosomes, Mammalian*
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Heterochromatin
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Murinae / genetics*
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Sex Determination Processes*
  • Species Specificity
  • Telomere
  • Translocation, Genetic
  • X Chromosome*


  • Heterochromatin