Chromosome Painting in Tyrant Flycatchers Confirms a Set of Inversions Shared by Oscines and Suboscines (Aves, Passeriformes)

Cytogenet Genome Res. 2017;153(4):205-212. doi: 10.1159/000486975. Epub 2018 Feb 21.


Tyrannidae is the largest family of Passeriformes in the Neotropical region. However, despite an interesting chromosomal diversity, there are only few cytogenetic studies of this family, and most of these are based on conventional cytogenetics. Hence, we analyzed here the chromosomal diversity and karyotypical evolution of this group by chromosome painting in 3 different species - Pitangus sulphuratus, Serpophaga subcristata, and Satrapa icterophrys - and make comparisons with previous data. In addition to chromosome painting with Gallus gallus (GGA) and Leucopternis albicollis (LAL) probes, karyotypes were analyzed by conventional staining, C-banding, and FISH with 18S rDNA and telomeric probes. Although this family is characterized by extensive chromosomal variation, we found similar karyotypes and diploid numbers ranging from 2n = 80 in P. sulphuratus to 2n = 82 in S. subcristata and S. icterophrys. Constitutive heterochromatin was located centromerically in all 3 species. Clusters of 18S rDNA were present in 1 pair of microchromosomes, except in S. subcristata, where 2 pairs of microchromosomes were labeled. No interstitial telomeric sequences were detected. GGA and LAL whole-chromosome probes revealed the occurrence of fissions and both paracentric and pericentric inversions commonly seen in other Passeriformes. In general terms, tyrants show the typical karyotype found in Passeriformes, suggesting that the observed rearrangements occurred before the division of the suborders Oscines and Suboscines.

Keywords: FISH; Inversions; Tyrannidae; Tyrants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Banding
  • Chromosome Inversion / genetics
  • Chromosome Inversion / veterinary*
  • Chromosome Painting / veterinary*
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • DNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Genetic Speciation
  • Heterochromatin / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S / genetics
  • Songbirds / genetics*
  • Species Specificity
  • Telomere / genetics
  • Telomere / ultrastructure


  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • Heterochromatin
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 18S