Mammalian Genome

, Volume 6, Issue 8, pp 521–525

How bats achieve a small C-value: frequency of repetitive DNA in Macrotus


  • R. A. Van Den Bussche
    • Department of Biological Sciences and The MuseumTexas Tech University
  • J. L. Longmire
    • Department of Biological Sciences and The MuseumTexas Tech University
  • R. J. Baker
    • Department of Biological Sciences and The MuseumTexas Tech University
Original Contributions

DOI: 10.1007/BF00356168

Cite this article as:
Van Den Bussche, R.A., Longmire, J.L. & Baker, R.J. Mammalian Genome (1995) 6: 521. doi:10.1007/BF00356168


Bats possess a genome approximately 50–87% the size of other eutherian mammals. We document that the events that have achieved or maintained a small genome size in the Mexican leaf-nosed bat Macrotus waterhousii have resulted in a lower copy number of interspersed and tandemly repetitive elements. These conclusions are based on examination of 1726 randomly chosen recombinant cosmids, with an average insert size of 35.7 kb and representing 2.6% of the haploid genome of M. waterhousii. Probes representative of microsatellites [(GT)n, (CT)n, (AT)n, (GC)n] and a tandem repeat (rDNA) were used to estimate frequency of repetitive elements in the M. waterhousii genome. Of the four dinucleotides, (GT)n was present in 33.5% of the clones, (CT)n was present in 31.0% of the clones, and (AT)n and (GC)n were not represented in any of the clones examined. The 28S rDNA and a repetitive element from M. californicus were found in three and four clones, respectively. The dinucleotides (GT)n and (CT)n occurred together in the same clone more frequently than expected from chance. Although our data do not allow us to empirically test which mechanisms are maintaining copy number of repetitive DNA in the bat genome, the nonrandom association of these different families of repetitive DNA may provide insight into a mechanism that proportionately reduces diverse families of repetitive DNA that are known to be amplified by very different mechanisms.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1995