Comparative cytogenetic mapping and telomere analysis provide evolutionary predictions for devil facial tumour 2

Emory D. Ingles, Janine E. Deakin

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Abstract

The emergence of a second transmissible tumour in the Tasmanian devil population, devil facial tumour 2 (DFT2), has prompted questions on the origin and evolution of these transmissible tumours. We used a combination of cytogenetic mapping and telomere length measurements to predict the evolutionary trajectory of chromosome rearrangements in DFT2. Gene mapping by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) provided insight into the chromosome rearrangements in DFT2 and identified the evolution of two distinct DFT2 lineages. A comparison of devil facial tumour 1 (DFT1) and DFT2 chromosome rearrangements indicated that both started with the fusion of a chromosome, with potentially critically short telomeres, to chromosome 1 to form dicentric chromosomes. In DFT1, the dicentric chromosome resulted in breakage–fusion–bridge cycles leading to highly rearranged chromosomes. In contrast, the silencing of a centromere on the dicentric chromosome in DFT2 stabilized the chromosome, resulting in a less rearranged karyotype than DFT1. DFT2 retains a bimodal distribution of telomere length dimorphism observed on Tasmanian devil chromosomes, a feature lost in DFT1. Using long term cell culture, we observed homogenization of telomere length over time. We predict a similar homogenization of telomere lengths occurred in DFT1, and that DFT2 is unlikely to undergo further substantial rearrangements due to maintained telomere length.

Original languageEnglish
Article number480
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalGenes
Volume11
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

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