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Mapping centromeres of microchromosomes in the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) using half-tetrad analysis.

Authors: Ulrich U. Knief, Wolfgang W. Forstmeier
Published: 12/15/2015, Chromosoma


Centromeres usually consist of hundreds of kilobases of repetitive sequence which renders them difficult to assemble. As a consequence, centromeres are often missing from assembled genomes and their locations on physical chromosome maps have to be inferred from flanking sequences via fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Alternatively, centromere positions can be mapped using linkage analyses in accidentally triploid individuals formed by half-tetrads (resulting from the inheritance of two chromatids from a single meiosis). The current genome assembly of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) comprises 32 chromosomes, but only for the ten largest chromosomes centromere positions have been mapped using FISH. We here map the positions of most of the remaining centromeres using half-tetrad analyses. For this purpose, we genotyped 37 zebra finches that were triploid or tetraploid due to inheritance errors (and mostly died as embryos) together with their parents at 64 microsatellite markers (at least two per chromosome). Using the information on centromere positions on the ten largest chromosomes, we were able to identify 12 cases of non-disjunction in maternal meiosis I and 10 cases of non-disjunction in maternal meiosis II. These 22 informative cases allowed us to infer centromere positions on additional 19 microchromosomes in reference to the current genome assembly. This knowledge will be valuable for studies of chromosome evolution, meiotic drive and species divergence in the avian lineage.

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