Of Bats and Molecules: Chromosomal Characters for Judging Phylogenetic Relationships

  • Marianne Volleth


Traditionally, morphological characters were used for judging phylogenetic relationships. These features, however, are prone to convergent evolution, and therefore, some aspects of intrafamilial and most interfamilial relationships remained unsolved to a large extent. In recent times, genetic features were used to elucidate phylogenetic relationships in Chiroptera. In the following chapter, a short introduction to classical and molecular cytogenetic methods is given. Furthermore, types of chromosomal rearrangements detected by application of such techniques are described. Amongst the large number of characters obtained by comparative karyological analysis, two cytogenetic features, i.e. inv 2 and inv 5, could serve as synapomorphies for the suborder Pteropodiformes. This finding supports recent molecular genetic results which proposed a basal division of Chiroptera into Pteropodiformes and Vespertilioniformes, rejecting the traditional division into Mega- and Microchiroptera. Concerning the phylogenetic relationships within the superfamily Emballonuroidea, however, cytogenetic results are not consistent with traditional views. On the one hand, a common character connecting the genera Taphozous and Emballonura was not found. On the other hand, similarity in three chromosomal features suggests a closer relationship between Emballonura and Nycteris than hitherto suspected.


Centric Fusion Chromosomal Evolution Acrocentric Chromosome Robertsonian Translocation Karyotype Evolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human GeneticsOtto von Guericke UniversityMagdeburgGermany

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