C-banding, base-specific fluorochrome staining (CMA3/DA/DAPI), and comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) were used to analyze the constitutive heterochromatin in two Israeli Spalax species, S. galili (2n = 52) and S. judai (2n = 60). It was shown that C-positive centromeric heterochromatin and some telomeric sites comprise GC-rich DNA sequences in both species. Comparative genomic in situ hybridization revealed slight qualitative differences in highly repetitive sequences in the two Spalax species. Eight acrocentric pairs in S. judai that are involved in Robertsonian rearrangements, possessed composite heterochromatin with a preference of S. judai highly repetitive sequences in the proximal region. Heterochromatin of the sex chromosomes, two biarmed homologous pairs (4 and 5) in both species, and acrocentric chromosomes from the group with a variable centromere position in S. judai was entirely species-specific. The high level of homology in the composition of heterochromatin may relate to the recent divergence of Israeli Spalax. Interspecies heterochromatin differences are discussed in the context of possible mechanisms in the Spalax chromosome evolution.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology