Chromosome painting in marsupials: Genome conservation in the kangaroo family Academic Article uri icon


  • In order to deduce the ancestral genome arrangement in the karyotypically diverse marsupial family Macropodidae, and to assess chromosome change in this family, chromosome-specific paints from the tammar wallaby (2n = 16) were hybridized to metaphase spreads from the two species proposed to represent the 2n = 22 ancestral karyotype, as well as species with derived 2n = 20 and 2n = 14 karyotypes. Identical patterns were observed in the two 2n = 22 species, from which the rearrangements to form the three derived karyotypes may be easily deduced to be 1, 3 and 4 different fusions, respectively. The identical Thylogale and Dorcopsis genomes may both be used to represent the pleisiomorphic macropodid chromosome complement. Variation in the X chromosome was also investigated by hybridizing an X-Y shared tammar wallaby 12-kb repeat element to chromosomes from the other four macropodid species, finding that it hybridized only to the most closely related species, and therefore is of recent origin.

publication date

  • 1999