Patterns of C-heterochromatin and telomeric DNA in two representative groups of small apes, the genera Hylobates and Symphalangus

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The course of chromosome evolution in small apes is still not clear, though painting analyses have opened the way for elucidating the puzzle. Even the C-banding pattern of the lar-group of gibbons (the genus Hylobates) is not clarified yet, although our previous studies suggested that lar-group gibbons have a unique C-banding pattern. We therefore made observations to establish C-banded karyotypes of the agile gibbons included in the lar-group. The data were compared with those of siamangs (the genus Symphalangus), which carry distinctive C-bands, to determine the chromosomal patterns in each group. C-banded chromosomes of agile gibbons showed several terminal, interstitial and paracentric bands, whose patterns are specific for each chromosome, whereas the C-bands of siamangs were located only at the terminal and centromeric regions in most chromosomes. Moreover, the C-bands of agile gibbons and siamangs were shown to be G+C-rich and A+T-rich DNA, respectively, by DAPI/C-band sequential staining. Additionally, PRINS labelling with a telomere primer revealed that agile gibbons have telomeric DNA only at chromosome ends where there is no C-band (non-telomeric heterochromatin), whereas the telomeric DNA of siamangs is located in the terminal C-banded regions (telomeric heterochromatin). Although the evolutionary mechanisms in small apes are still unknown, C-banding patterns and distribution of telomeric DNA sequences should provide valuable data to deduce the evolutionary pathways of small apes.

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