Accumulation of rare sex chromosome rearrangements in the African pygmy mouse, Mus (Nannomys) minutoides: A whole-arm reciprocal translocation (WART) involving an X-autosome fusion

Veyrunes F. ; Watson J. ; Robinson T.J. ; Britton-Davidian J. (2007)


Although sex chromosomes are generally the most conserved elements of the mammalian karyotype, those of African pygmy mice show three extraordinary deviations from the norm: (a) asynaptic sex chromosomes, (b) multiple sex-autosome fusions, and (c) modifications of sex determination in some populations/species. In this study we identified, in two sex-reversed females of Mus (Nannomys) minutoides, a fourth rare sex chromosome change: a spontaneous whole-arm reciprocal translocation (WART) between an autosomal Robertsonian pair Rb(13.16) and the sex-autosome fusion Rb(X.1). This represents one of the very few reported cases of WARTs in natura within mammals, and is the first one to involve sex chromosomes. Hence, this finding offers new insights into the mechanisms of chromosomal differentiation in African pygmy mice, as WARTs may have contributed to the extensive diversity not only of autosomal Robertsonian fusions, but also of sex-autosome translocations. More widely, these results provide additional support to previous studies on the house mouse and the common shrew which indirectly inferred the role of WARTs in their karyotypic evolution, and may even help to understand how the fascinating 10 sex chromosome chain of the platypus might have evolved. This accumulation of rare sex chromosome changes in single specimens is, to our knowledge, exceptional among mammals. © 2007 Springer.

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