The sand lizard (Lacerta agilis, Lacertidae) has a chromosome number of 2n=38, with 17 pairs of acrocentric chromosomes, one pair of microchromosomes, a large acrocentric Z chromosome, and a micro-W chromosome. To investigate the process of karyotype evolution in L. agilis, we performed chromosome banding and fluorescent in situ hybridization for gene mapping and constructed a cytogenetic map with 86 functional genes. Chromosome banding revealed that the Z chromosome is the fifth largest chromosome. The cytogenetic map revealed homology of the L. agilis Z chromosome with chicken chromosomes 6 and 9. Comparison of the L. agilis cytogenetic map with those of four Toxicofera species with many microchromosomes (Elaphe quadrivirgata, Varanus salvator macromaculatus, Leiolepis reevesii rubritaeniata, and Anolis carolinensis) showed highly conserved linkage homology of L. agilis chromosomes (LAG) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5(Z), 7, 8, 9, and 10 with macrochromosomes and/or macrochromosome segments of the four Toxicofera species. Most of the genes located on the microchromosomes of Toxicofera were localized to LAG6, small acrocentric chromosomes (LAG11–18), and a microchromosome (LAG19) in L. agilis. These results suggest that the L. agilis karyotype resulted from frequent fusions of microchromosomes, which occurred in the ancestral karyotype of Toxicofera and led to the disappearance of microchromosomes and the appearance of many small macrochromosomes.
Srikulnath, K., MATSUBARA, K., Uno, Y., Nishida, C., Olsson, M., & Matsuda, Y. (2014). Identification of the linkage group of the Z sex chromosomes of the sand lizard (Lacerta agilis, Lacertidae) and elucidation of karyotype evolution in lacertid lizards. Chromosoma, 123(6), 563-575. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00412-014-0467-8