Cytogenetic analysis of the Asian Plethodontid salamander, : Evidence for karyotypic conservation, chromosome repatterning, and genome size evolutionKarsenia koreana: Evidence for karyotypic conservation, chromosome repatterning, and genome size evolution

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A cytogenetic analysis, including the karyotype, C-bands, silver-stained nucleolus organizer regions and genome size, was performed on the recently discovered species, Karsenia koreana, the first plethodontid salamander from Asia. The karyotype consists of 14 pairs of bi-armed chromosomes, with no evidence of heteromorphic sex chromosomes. C-banding reveals a concentration of heterochromatin at the centromeres as well as at interstitial locations. The smallest chromosome (pair number 14) has symmetrical interstitial C-bands in each arm, resembling chromosome no. 14 of North American species of its sister group taxon, supergenus Hydromantes. Acomparative analysis of C-band heterochromatin and silver-stained nucleolus organizer regions of Karsenia and other plethodontid genera reveals that chromosomal evolution may have featured chromosome ‘repatterning’ within the context of conserved chromosome number and shape in this clade. Genome size is correlated with geographic distribution in plethodontids and appears to have important phenotypic correlates as well. The genome size of Karsenia is relatively large, and resembles that of the geographically closest plethodontids from western North America, especially species of the genus Hydromantes. The biological significance of these cytogenetic characteristics of plethodontid salamanders is discussed within an evolutionary context.

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