Chromosome Research

, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 785–793 | Cite as

Avian genomes: different karyotypes but a similar distribution of the GC-richest chromosome regions at interphase

  • Concetta Federico
  • Catia Daniela Cantarella
  • Cinzia Scavo
  • Salvatore Saccone
  • Bertrand Bed'Hom
  • Giorgio BernardiEmail author


The chicken karyotype, like that of the vast majority of avian species, shows a large number of dot-shaped microchromosomes that are characterized, like most telomeric regions of the macrochromosomes, by the highest GC levels and the highest gene densities. In interphase nuclei, these gene-dense regions are centrally located, and are characterized by an open chromatin structure (a similar situation also exists in mammals). Avian species belonging to the Accipitridae family (diurnal raptors) show a karyotype with no very large chromosomes, and with only a very small number of microchromosomes. To identify the GC-rich (and gene-rich) regions of the chromosomes and nuclei from Accipitridae, we performed heterologous in-situ hybridizations using chicken GC-richest isochores as probes. Our results clearly show that the gene-rich regions are prevalently located in the few microchromosome pairs and in the telomeric regions of the middle-sized chromosomes, as well as in the interior of the interphase nuclei. This result is consistent with a common organization of the genome in the nuclei of warm-blooded vertebrates. Indeed, in spite of the different size and morphology of the chromosomes, the gene-dense regions are always located in the interior of the nuclei.

Key words

Accipitridae Aegypius occipitalis birds Elanus caeruleus Falconiformes Gallus domesticus Gyps fulvus interphase nucleus isochore karyotype 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Concetta Federico
    • 1
  • Catia Daniela Cantarella
    • 1
  • Cinzia Scavo
    • 1
  • Salvatore Saccone
    • 1
  • Bertrand Bed'Hom
    • 2
  • Giorgio Bernardi
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Biologia Animale “M. La Greca”University of CataniaCataniaItaly
  2. 2.UMR INRA/INAPG Génétique et Diversité AnimaleJouy en Josas CedexFrance
  3. 3.Laboratorio di Evoluzione MolecolareStazione Zoologica Anton DohrnNapoliItaly

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