Evolution of the black muntjac (Muntiacus crinifron's) karyotype revealed by comparative chromosome painting F. Yanga,b, P.C.M. O'Briena, J. Wienberga, M.A. Ferguson-Smitha


The black muntjac (Muntiacus crinifrons) has an unusual karyotype of 2n = 8 in females and 2n = 9 in males. We have studied the evolution of this karyotype by hybridising chromosome-specific paints derived from flow-sorted chromosomes of the Chinese muntjac (M. reevesi, 2n = 46) to chromosomes of the black muntjac. The hybridisation pattern allowed us to infer chromosomal homologies between these two species. Tandem and centromeric fusions, reciprocal translocations, and insertions are involved in the reduction of the diploid number from 2n = 46 to 2n = 8, 9. The painting patterns further show complex chromosomal rearrangements in the male black muntjac which involve more than half the karyotype, including both sex chromosomes. Since early meiosis is reported to be normal without any visible inversion loops of the synaptonemal complex, the observed chromosomal rearrangements would lead to heterosynapsis and, therefore, leave a large fraction of the male black muntjac karyotype balanced between the two sexes.