Interspecific hybrids of Antheraea roylei and A. pernyi — a cytogenetic reassessment
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A rare case of interspecific hybridization between the Indian oak feeding silkworm Antheraea roylei (n=31) and Chinese oak feeding silkworm A. pernyi (n=49) yielding fertile and vigorous offspring is reported. The F1 and the backcross (A. roylei X A. pernyi X A. pernyi male individuals of the above cross and the F23 and F32 male offspring derived from an earlier cross between another race of A. roylei (n=30) and A. pernyi (n=49) were cytogenetically analysed in order to study their chromosome dynamics. The F1 hybrids showed 18 trivalents and 13 bivalents in the first meiotic prophase and metaphase. The backcross individuals possessed either 9 trivalents and 31 bivalents or 49 bivalents, in Metaphase I cells. The F23 and F32 individuals were karyotypically alike and exhibited 49 bivalents. The following conclusions were drawn from the above observations: (a) in spite of allopatry and karyotypic divergence in number, a high degree of homology exists between the chromosomal complements of the two species; (b) A. pernyi possibly evolved from A. roylei, during the course of which 18 chromosomes of the latter underwent fission to give rise to the 36 chromosomes of the former. This is demonstrated by trivalent formation and pairing affinities in F1 hybrids; (c) selection has favoured the elimination of large A. roylei chromosomes which participated in trivalent formation in successive generations of inbred hybrids to establish a stable Karyotype like that of A. pernyi.
Key wordsAntheraea Interspecific hybrid Trivalents
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