Reduced gene flow at pericentromeric loci in a hybrid zone involving chromosomal races of the house mouse Mus musculus domesticus

Evolution. 2010 Jul;64(7):2020-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.00964.x. Epub 2010 Feb 9.


The West European house mouse, Mus musculus domesticus, is a particularly suitable model to investigate the role of chromosomal rearrangements in reproductive isolation. In fact, it exhibits a broad range of chromosomal polymorphism due to Robertsonian (Rb) fusions leading to various types of contact zones between different chromosomal races. In the present study, we analyzed a parapatric contact in central Italy between the Cittaducale chromosomal race (CD: 2n= 22) and the surrounding populations with standard karyotype (2n= 40) to understand if Rb fusions play a causative role in speciation. One hundred forty-seven mice from 17 localities were genotyped by means of 12 microsatellite loci. A telomeric and a pericentromeric locus situated on six chromosome arms (four Rbs and one telocentric) were selected to detect differences in the amount of gene flow for each locus in different chromosomal positions. The analyses performed on the two subsets of loci show differences in the level of gene flow, which is more restricted near the centromeres of Rb chromosomes. This effect is less pronounced in the homozygotes populations settled at the border of the hybrid zone. We discuss the possible cause of the differential porosity of gene flow in Rbs considering "hybrid dysfunctions" and "suppressed recombination" models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Centromere / genetics
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Gene Flow*
  • Genetic Speciation*
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Genotype
  • Hybridization, Genetic*
  • Italy
  • Karyotyping
  • Mice
  • Microsatellite Repeats / genetics
  • Models, Genetic
  • Species Specificity
  • Telomere / genetics