, Volume 66, Issue 4, pp 361-388

Chromosome banding in Amphibia

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The distribution and quantity of constitutive heterochromatin and of the nucleolus organizer regions (NORs) on the chromosomes of 22 species of bufonids and hylids (Amphibia, Anura) was investigated. Three different kinds of constitutive heterochromatin were found and the frequency of brightly fluorescing heterochromatic regions was remarkably high. On almost all chromosomes there is centric and telomeric heterochromatin. Quantitative estimates of heterochromatin demonstrate that large DNA differences among closely related species can not be attributed to differing quantities of constitutive heterochromatin. In all species investigated, only one homologous pair of NORs was found, which lies preferentially in the proximal and interstitial segments of the long chromosome arms. The NORs are always associated with constitutive heterochromatin on both sides. The size variability between homologous NORs is very high. In the euchromatic regions of the metaphase chromosomes, neither Q- nor G-bands can be demonstrated; this can be attributed to an extremely strong contraction of the anuran chromosomes. On the basis of these results various mechanism of the chromosomal evolution in Anura are discussed.