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. 2015 Oct;143(5):535-43.
doi: 10.1007/s10709-015-9851-4. Epub 2015 Jun 20.

Intrachromosomal Rearrangements in Two Representatives of the Genus Saltator (Thraupidae, Passeriformes) and the Occurrence of Heteromorphic Z Chromosomes


Intrachromosomal Rearrangements in Two Representatives of the Genus Saltator (Thraupidae, Passeriformes) and the Occurrence of Heteromorphic Z Chromosomes

Michelly da Silva dos Santos et al. Genetica. .


Saltator is a genus within family Thraupidae, the second largest family of Passeriformes, with more than 370 species found exclusively in the New World. Despite this, only a few species have had their karyotypes analyzed, most of them only with conventional staining. The diploid number is close to 80, and chromosome morphology is similar to the usual avian karyotype. Recent studies using cross-species chromosome painting have shown that, although the chromosomal morphology and number are similar to many species of birds, Passeriformes exhibit a complex pattern of paracentric and pericentric inversions in the chromosome homologous to GGA1q in two different suborders, Oscines and Suboscines. Hence, considering the importance and species richness of Thraupidae, this study aims to analyze two species of genus Saltator, the golden-billed saltator (S. aurantiirostris) and the green-winged saltator (S. similis) by means of classical cytogenetics and cross-species chromosome painting using Gallus gallus and Leucopternis albicollis probes, and also 5S and 18S rDNA and telomeric sequences. The results show that the karyotypes of these species are similar to other species of Passeriformes. Interestingly, the Z chromosome appears heteromorphic in S. similis, varying in morphology from acrocentric to metacentric. 5S and 18S probes hybridize to one pair of microchromosomes each, and telomeric sequences produce signals only in the terminal regions of chromosomes. FISH results are very similar to the Passeriformes already analyzed by means of molecular cytogenetics (Turdus species and Elaenia spectabilis). However, the paracentric and pericentric inversions observed in Saltator are different from those detected in these species, an observation that helps to explain the probable sequence of rearrangements. As these rearrangements are found in both suborders of Passeriformes (Oscines and Suboscines), we propose that the fission of GGA1 and inversions in GGA1q have occurred very early after the radiation of this order.

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