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Chromosomal analysis in Cathartidae: distribution of heterochromatic blocks and rDNA, and phylogenetic considerations

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Abstract

Three species of Cathartidae (Sarcoramphus papa, Cathartes aura and Cathartes burrovianus) were cytogenetically characterized by G- and C-banding. 18S–28S rDNA was used as a probe to map major ribosomal clusters. These species showed very similar karyotypes, with 2n = 80, 10 pairs of macrochromosomes, a submetacentric Z and a metacentric W chromosome. However, differences were found in the amount and distribution of heterochromatic blocks: S. papa showed heterochromatin only in the pericentromeric region and in chromosome W, while both species of Cathartes had heterochromatic blocks also in the long arm of two acrocentric pairs. Ribosomal clusters were found in a small pair in all three species. Karyotype analysis in Cathartidae revealed that this family has retained similarities to the putative avian ancestral karyotype, and placed Cathartidae in a more basal position in relation to Accipitridae and Falconidae. However, the cytogenetic data still cannot clarify the phylogenetic relationship between this family and other groups, such as Ciconiidae, considered its sister-group according to nucleic acid hybridization studies.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Dr. Vladimir Trifonov, for providing the r-DNA probes, Prof. M. A. Ferguson-Smith and Patricia O′Brien (Cambridge Resource Centre for Comparative Genomics, University of Cambridge) for laboratory facilities and manuscript revision, and to Criadouro Gavião Real (Capitão Poço, PA) and Parque Zoobotanico do Museu Emilio Goeldi (Belém, PA) for their kind assistance in supplying feather samples. This research was supported by CNPQ (472544/2006-3).

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Correspondence to Edivaldo Herculano C. de Oliveira.

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J. C. Pieczarka and C. Y. Nagamachi—Researcher from CNPq, Brazil.

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Tagliarini, M.M., Pieczarka, J.C., Nagamachi, C.Y. et al. Chromosomal analysis in Cathartidae: distribution of heterochromatic blocks and rDNA, and phylogenetic considerations. Genetica 135, 299–304 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10709-008-9278-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10709-008-9278-2

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