Tracking genome organization in rodents by Zoo-FISH
The number of rodent species examined by modern comparative genomic approaches, particularly chromosome painting, is limited. The use of human whole-chromosome painting probes to detect regions of homology in the karyotypes of the rodent index species, the mouse and rat, has been hindered by the highly rearranged nature of their genomes. In contrast, recent studies have demonstrated that non-murid rodents display more conserved genomes, underscoring their suitability for comparative genomic and higher-order systematic studies. Here we provide the first comparative chromosome maps between human and representative rodents of three major rodent lineages Castoridae, Pedetidae and Dipodidae. A comprehensive analysis of these data and those published for Sciuridae show (1) that Castoridae, Pedetidae and Dipodidae form a monophyletic group, and (2) that the European beaver Castor fiber (Castoridae) and the birch mouse Sicista betulina (Dipodidae) are sister species to the exclusion of the springhare Pedetes capensis (Pedetidae), thus resolving an enduring trifurcation in rodent higher-level systematics. Our results together with published data on the Sciuridae allow the formulation of a putative rodent ancestral karyotype (2n=50) that is thought to comprise the following 26 human chromosomal segments and/or segmental associations: HSA1pq, 1q/10p, 2pq, 2q, 3a, 3b/19p, 3c/21, 4b, 5, 6, 7a, 7b/16p, 8p/4a/8p, 8q, 9/11, 10q, 12a/22a, 12b/22b, 13, 14/15, 16q/19q, 17, 18, 20, X and Y. These findings provide insights into the likely composition of the ancestral rodent karyotype and an improved understanding of placental genome evolution. © 2008 Springer.