Phylogenomics of the genus Mus (Rodentia; Muridae): Extensive genome repatterning is not restricted to the house mouse
The house mouse (Mus musculus) is universally adopted as the mammalian laboratory model, and it is involved in most studies of large-scale comparative genomics. Paradoxically, this taxon is rarely the index species for evolutionary analyses of genome architecture owing to its highly rearranged karyotype. To unravel the origin and nature of this extensive repatterning genome, we performed a multidirectional chromosome painting study of representative species within the genus Mus. However, the latter includes four extant subgenera (Mus, Coelomys, Nannomys and Pyromys) between which the phylogenetic relationships remain elusive despite the numerous molecular studies. Comparative genomic maps were established using chromosome-specific painting probes of the laboratory mouse and Nannomys minutoides. Hence, by integrating closely related species within Mus, this study allowed us to: (i) unambiguously resolve for the first time the long-standing controversial phylogeny, (ii) trace the evolution of genome organization in the house mouse, (iii) track rearrangements that necessitated new centromere locations, i.e. formation of neocentromere or reactivation of latent centromeres, (iv) reveal an extremely high rate of karyotypic evolution, with a 10- to 30-fold acceleration which was coincidental with subgeneric cladogenesis and (v) highlight genomic areas of interest for high-resolution studies on neocentromere formation and synteny breakpoints. © 2006 The Royal Society.