Alterations to chromosomes are considered important in speciation (the process by which new species are formed). In a new paper in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, researchers from the University of Konstanz, Harvard University and La Sapienza University of Rome study wild house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) from several islands in the Aeolian archipelago off the coast of Sicily, Southern Italy. Their findings provide empirical support to the idea that a specific type of large-scale chromosomal rearrangements called "Robertsonian (Rb) fusions" play an active role in speciation.
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- New genome-wide study of wild house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) in Southern Italy suggests that a specific type of large-scale chromosomal rearrangements called Robertsonian fusions play an active role in speciation.
- Using a range of powerful genetic approaches, researchers from the University of Konstanz, Harvard University and La Sapienza University of Rome traced the demographic patterns and karyotypic distributions of wild house mouse populations in the Aeolian archipelago.
- Original publication: Paolo Franchini, Andreas F. Kautt, Alexander Nater, Gloria Antonini, Riccardo Castiglia, Axel Meyer, Emanuela Solano, Reconstructing the evolutionary history of chromosomal races on islands: a genome-wide analysis of natural house mouse populations, Molecular Biology and Evolution, msaa118, 25 May 2020. DOI: https:/
/ doi. org/ 10. 1093/ molbev/ msaa118
- Focussing on three identical chromosomal rearrangements found in the island and in mainland populations, the researchers were able to show that, contrary to previous suggestions, large-scale genetic mutations are occurring more readily than anticipated and independently from one another.
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Caption: View of part of the Aeolian Archipelago.
Image: Dr Paolo Franchini