Karyotype of the rare Johnston’s genetGenetta johnstoni (Viverridae) and a reassessment of chromosomal characterization among congeneric species

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We present herein new data on karyotypes of members of the genusGenetta. G- and C-banded chromosomes of the Johnston’s genetGenetta johnstoni Pocock, 1908 (2n = 50 / FNa = 92) are described for the first time, and compared with those ofG. genetta (2n = 54 / FNa = 92). In addition, the standard karyotype ofG. maculata (2n = 52 / FNa = 96) was studied. A reassessment of taxonomic attribution of previously published material allowed us to characterize (2n, FNa, and chromosome morphology) the karyotypes of three genets, previously unknown (G. pardina, G. letabae andG. tigrina). Our results show that despite a rather low interspecific variability in 2n and FNa, all the species of genets (exceptG. pardina andG. maculata) appear differentiated when chromosomal morphology is taken into account. Although chromosomal banding data are limited, confrontation of G-band karyotypes with preliminary molecular phylogenetic results reveals that karyotypic evolution within the genusGenetta might involve various rearrangements like Robertsonian and tandem translocations, pericentric inversions, and centromere fissions; thus providing at least for some taxa a solid postzygotic isolation. Finally, our study suggests that cytogenetic analyses might constitute a useful tool for questioning interspecific boundaries, especially within the taxonomically debated complex of large-spotted genets.

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Associate Editor Joseph F. Merritt.

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Gaubert, P., Aniskin, V.M., Dunham, A.E. et al. Karyotype of the rare Johnston’s genetGenetta johnstoni (Viverridae) and a reassessment of chromosomal characterization among congeneric species. Acta Theriol 49, 457–464 (2004) doi:10.1007/BF03192590

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Key words

  • Genetta genetta
  • Genetta maculata
  • Genetta tigrina
  • large-spotted genet
  • complex
  • G- and C-banding, taxonomy