Karyotype analysis of the Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Kurdjumov) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) reveals a large X chromosome with rRNA and histone gene families

Genetica. 2011 Mar;139(3):281-9. doi: 10.1007/s10709-011-9546-4. Epub 2011 Feb 19.


The Russsian wheat aphid (RWA), Diuraphis noxia (Kurdjumov), is a worldwide pest of cereals. Despite its economic importance, little is known about its genome. Here we investigated physical genomic features in RWA by karyotype analysis using differential staining with AgNO(3), CMA(3), and DAPI, by chromosomal localization of ribosomal DNA (rDNA), H3 and H4 histone genes, and the "arthropod" telomeric sequence (TTAGG)(n) using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), and by measuring the RWA genome size using flow cytometry. The female karyotype, 2n = 10, is composed of four autosome pairs and a pair of X chromosomes, whereas the male karyotype, 2n = 9, has a single X. The X chromosome is the largest element in the karyotype. All three molecular markers used, i.e., 18S rRNA and both H3 and H4 probes are co-localized at one end of the X chromosome. The FISH probes revealed that the AgNO(3)-positive bridge between two prometaphase X chromosomes of females, which is believed to be responsible for the elimination of one X chromosome in aphid oocytes determined to undergo male development, contains clusters of both histone genes, in addition to an rDNA cluster. Interestingly, RWA lacks the (TTAGG)(n) telomeric sequence in its genome, in contrast to several previously investigated aphid species. Additionally, we compared female and male genome sizes. The female genome size is 2C = 0.86 pg, whereas the male genome size is 2C = 0.70 pg. The difference between the DNA content in the two genders suggests that the RWA X chromosome occupies about 35% of the female haploid genome (1C = 0.43 pg), which makes it one of the largest sex chromosomes in the animal kingdom.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aphids / genetics*
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Chromosomes, Insect / genetics*
  • DNA Probes / genetics
  • DNA Probes / metabolism
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Female
  • Genome, Insect
  • Histones / genetics*
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Karyotyping
  • Male
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics*


  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • Histones
  • RNA, Ribosomal