The butterfly lizard (Leiolepis reevesii rubritaeniata) has the diploid chromosome number of 2n=36, comprising two distinctive components, macrochromosomes and microchromosomes. To clarify the conserved linkage homology between lizard and snake chromosomes and to delineate the process of karyotypic evolution in Squamata, we constructed a cytogenetic map of L. reevesii rubritaeniata with 54 functional genes and compared it with that of the Japanese four-striped rat snake (E. quadrivirgata, 2n=36). Six pairs of the lizard macrochromosomes were homologous to eight pairs of the snake macrochromosomes. The lizard chromosomes 1, 2, 4, and 6 corresponded to the snake chromosomes 1, 2, 3, and Z, respectively. LRE3p and LRE3q showed the homology with EQU5 and EQU4, respectively, and LRE5p and LRE5q corresponded to EQU7 and EQU6, respectively. These results suggest that the genetic linkages have been highly conserved between the two species and that their karyotypic difference might be caused by the telomere-to-telomere fusion events followed by inactivation of one of two centromeres on the derived dicentric chromosomes in the lineage of L. reevesii rubritaeniata or the centric fission events of the bi-armed macrochromosomes and subsequent centromere repositioning in the lineage of E. quadrivirgata. The homology with L. reevesii rubritaeniata microchromosomes were also identified in the distal regions of EQU1p and 1q, indicating the occurrence of telomere-to-telomere fusions of microchromosomes to the p and q arms of EQU1.
Srikulnath, K., Nishida, C., Matsubara, K., Uno, Y., Thongpan, A., Suputtitada, S., ... Matsuda, Y. (2009). Karyotypic evolution in squamate reptiles: comparative gene mapping revealed highly conserved linkage homology between the butterfly lizard (Leiolepis reevesii rubritaeniata, Agamidae, Lacertilia) and the Japanese four-striped rat snake(see comments). Chromosome Research, 17, 975-986. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10577-009-9101-7