, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 99-109

Cytogenetical survey of black rats, Rattus rattus , in southwest and Central Asia, with special regard to the evolutional relationship between three geographical types

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A chromosome survey of the black rat, Rattus rattus, was made from animals collected at different localities in Southwest and Central Asia. Asian type black rats (2 n=42) were distributed in northern India, northern Pakistan, while the Oceanian type rats (2 n=38) were found in southern India, southern Pakistan and Central Asia. A border line of distribution of rats with Asian and Oceanian types can be drawn dividing India and Pakistan into northern and southern parts. A hybrid type between Asian and Oceanian types was found in Karachi, Pakistan. Rats with 40 chromosomes, probably a transient type from Asian to Oceanian type, were found in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). It is suggested that these three geographic variants have developed via sequential events of Robertsonian fusion of acrocentric chromosomes in Asian type black rats. This fusion probably took place somewhere in southern India. The Oceanian type black rats that thus developed in southern India migrated widely to the rest of the world through Central Asia and Europe accompanying the movement of mankind.