Chromosome pairing in inter-racial hybrids of the house musk shrew (Suncus murinus, Insectivora, Soricidae)

Genome. 1998 Feb;41(1):79-90. doi: 10.1139/g97-103.


Two chromosome races of the house shrew Suncus murinus that differ from each other for five Robertsonian translocations (8.17, 9.13, 10.12, 11.16, and 14.15), heterochromatic insertions in chromosomes 7 and X, and multiple rearrangements in the Y chromosome were crossed and then intercrossed in captivity to produce a hybrid stock. Electron-microscopic analysis of synaptonemal complexes in fertile and sterile hybrid males was carried out. Meiosis in sterile males did not progress beyond pachytene and was severely disrupted. Meiotic arrest was not determined by structural heterozygosity: heterozygotes for all variant chromosomes distinguishing two parental races were found in both sterile and fertile male hybrids. Fertile hybrids demonstrated an orderly pairing of all chromosomes. In heterozygotes for Robertsonian fusions, completely paired trivalents were formed between the Robertsonian metacentrics and homologous acrocentrics. In heterozygotes for chromosome 7, bivalents with a small buckle were observed in a small fraction of pachytene cells. No differences were found in the morphology and pairing pattern of sex bivalents, composed of the X and Y chromosomes derived from the same or different parental races. Univalents, multivalents, and associations between X and Y chromosomes and autosomal trivalents, as well as associations of autosomal trivalents with each other, were observed in a small fraction of the pachytene cells of fertile males. Our results indicate that the system controlling male sterility in interracial hybrids of S. murinus is of genic rather than of chromosomal type.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomes / genetics*
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Female
  • Fertility / genetics
  • Heterozygote
  • Hybridization, Genetic
  • Infertility, Male / genetics
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Shrews / genetics*
  • Species Specificity
  • Spermatocytes / ultrastructure
  • Translocation, Genetic
  • X Chromosome / genetics
  • X Chromosome / ultrastructure
  • Y Chromosome / genetics
  • Y Chromosome / ultrastructure


  • DNA Transposable Elements