Karyotype Reorganization in the Hokou Gecko (Gekko Hokouensis, Gekkonidae): The Process of Microchromosome Disappearance in Gekkota

PLoS One. 2015 Aug 4;10(8):e0134829. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134829. eCollection 2015.


The Hokou gecko (Gekko hokouensis: Gekkonidae, Gekkota, Squamata) has the chromosome number 2n = 38, with no microchromosomes. For molecular cytogenetic characterization of the gekkotan karyotype, we constructed a cytogenetic map for G. hokouensis, which retains the ancestral karyotype of Gekkota, with 86 functional genes, and compared it with cytogenetic maps for four Toxicofera species that have many microchromosomes (Elaphe quadrivirgata, Varanus salvator macromaculatus, Leiolepis reevesii rubritaeniata, and Anolis carolinensis) and that for a lacertid species (Lacerta agilis) with only one pair of autosomal microchromosomes. Ten pairs of G. hokouensis chromosomes [GHO1, 2, 3, Z(4), 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15] showed highly conserved linkage homology with macrochromosomes and/or macrochromosome arms of the four Toxicofera species and corresponded to eight L. agilis macrochromosomes (LAG). However, GHO5, GHO9, GHO10, GHO11, and LAG6 were composed of chromosome segments that have a homology with Toxicofera microchromosomes, and no homology was found in the chromosomes between G. hokouensis and L. agilis. These results suggest that repeated fusions of microchromosomes may have occurred independently in each lineage of Gekkota and Lacertidae, leading to the disappearance of microchromosomes and appearance of small-sized macrochromosomes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Chickens / genetics
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Genes
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Karyotype*
  • Lizards / genetics*
  • Male
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Ribosomal

Grant support

This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (No. 23113004) and Scientific Research (B) (No. 22370081) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.