The very long telomeres in Sorex granarius (Soricidae, Eulipothyphla) contain ribosomal DNA
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Two closely related shrew species, Sorex granarius and Sorex araneus, in which Robertsonian rearrangements have played a primary role in karyotype evolution, present very distinct telomere length patterns. S. granarius displays hyperlong telomeres specifically associated with the short arms of acrocentrics, whereas telomere lengths in S. araneus are rather short and homogenous. Using a combined approach of chromosome and fibre FISH, modified Q-FISH, 3D-FISH, Ag-NOR staining and TRF analysis, we carried out a comparative analysis of telomeric repeats and rDNA distribution on chromosome ends of Sorex granarius. Our results show that rDNA sequences forming active nuclear organizing regions are interspersed with the long telomere tracts of all short arms of acrocentrics. These observations suggest that the major rearrangements that gave rise to today’s karyotype in S. granarius were accompanied by a profound reorganization of chromosome ends, which comprised extensive amplification of telomeric and rDNA repeats on the short arms of acrocentrics and finally contributed to the stabilization of telomeres. This is the first time that such telomeric structures have been observed in any mammalian species.
Key wordschromosome evolution rDNA shrew Sorex telomere
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