Comparative FISH mapping of 32 loci reveals new homologous regions between donkey and horse karyotypes.
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A total of 32 loci comprising specific genes, microsatellites and anonymous BAC clones from horse and cattle were mapped on donkey chromosomes. Of these, 13 markers were also mapped for the first time in the horse. This information, together with that previously available in donkey and horse updates the comparative status of the karyotypes of the two species. The findings of the present study for the first time show correlation between eleven equine acrocentric autosomes and the donkey chromosomes and in part enable detection of rearrangements between them. There are still 7-8 pairs of chromosomes/arms for which no correspondence is known. At least 20 chromosome rearrangements (inversions, fusions and fissions) are already identified that differentiate the two karyotypes. More will be known once complete correspondence is deduced between them. These observations match similar differences observed between human-gibbon and mouse-rat karyotypes that show considerable rearrangements in relation to each other. How donkey and horse karyotypes gathered these differences within a short period of 5-10 Myr since divergence from a common ancestor will be known only after an ancestral equid karyotype is deduced, and the direction of change leading to chromosome rearrangements is clearly understood.