Malcolm A. Ferguson-Smith

University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (185)

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: The subtribe Vampyressina (sensu Baker et al. 2003) encompasses approximately 43 species and seven genera and is a recent and diversified group of New World leaf-nosed bats specialized in fruit eating. The systematics of this group continues to be debated mainly because of the lack of congruence between topologies generated by molecular and morphological data. We analyzed seven species of all genera of vampyressine bats by multidirectional chromosome painting, using whole-chromosome-painting probes from Carollia brevicauda and Phyllostomus hastatus. Phylogenetic analyses were performed using shared discrete chromosomal segments as characters and the Phylogenetic Analysis Using Parsimony (PAUP) software package, using Desmodontinae as outgroup. We also used the Tree Analysis Using New Technology (TNT) software. Results: The result showed a well-supported phylogeny congruent with molecular topologies regarding the sister taxa relationship of Vampyressa and Mesophylla genera, as well as the close relationship between the genus Chiroderma and Vampyriscus. Conclusions: Our results supported the hypothesis that all genera of this subtribe have compound sex chromosome systems that originated from an X-autosome translocation, an ancestral condition observed in the Stenodermatinae. Additional rearrangements occurred independently in the genus Vampyressa and Mesophylla yielding the X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y sex chromosome system. This work presents additional data supporting the hypothesis based on molecular studies regarding the polyphyly of the genus Vampyressa and its sister relationship to Mesophylla.
    Article · Dec 2016 · BMC Evolutionary Biology
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BackgroundB chromosomes are dispensable and variable karyotypic elements found in some species of animals, plants and fungi. They often originate from duplications and translocations of host genomic regions or result from hybridization. In most species, little is known about their DNA content. Here we perform high-throughput sequencing and analysis of B chromosomes of roe deer and brocket deer, the only representatives of Cetartiodactyla known to have B chromosomes. ResultsIn this study we developed an approach to identify genomic regions present on chromosomes by high-throughput sequencing of DNA generated from flow-sorted chromosomes using degenerate-oligonucleotide-primed PCR. Application of this method on small cattle autosomes revealed a previously described KIT gene region translocation associated with colour sidedness. Implementing this approach to B chromosomes from two cervid species, Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus) and grey brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira), revealed dramatically different genetic content: roe deer B chromosomes consisted of two duplicated genomic regions (a total of 1.42-1.98 Mbp) involving three genes, while grey brocket deer B chromosomes contained 26 duplicated regions (a total of 8.28-9.31 Mbp) with 34 complete and 21 partial genes, including KIT and RET protooncogenes, previously found on supernumerary chromosomes in canids. Sequence variation analysis of roe deer B chromosomes revealed a high frequency of mutations and increased heterozygosity due to either amplification within B chromosomes or divergence between different Bs. In contrast, grey brocket deer B chromosomes were found to be more homogeneous and resembled autosomes in patterns of sequence variation. Similar tendencies were observed in repetitive DNA composition. Conclusions Our data demonstrate independent origins of B chromosomes in the grey brocket and roe deer. We hypothesize that the B chromosomes of these two cervid species represent different stages of B chromosome sequences evolution: probably nascent and similar to autosomal copies in brocket deer, highly derived in roe deer. Based on the presence of the same orthologous protooncogenes in canids and brocket deer Bs we argue that genomic regions involved in B chromosome formation are not random. In addition, our approach is also applicable to the characterization of other evolutionary and clinical rearrangements.
    Full-text Article · Aug 2016 · BMC Genomics
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Squamate reptiles show a striking diversity in modes of sex determination, including both genetic (XY or ZW) and temperature-dependent sex determination systems. The genomes of only a handful of species have been sequenced, analyzed and assembled including the genome of Anolis carolinensis. Despite a high genome coverage, only macrochromosomes of A. carolinensis were assembled whereas the content of most microchromosomes remained unclear. Most of the Anolis species have homomorphic XY sex chromosome system. However, some species have large heteromorphic XY chromosomes (e.g., A. sagrei) and even multiple sex chromosomes systems (e.g. A. pogus), that were shown to be derived from fusions of the ancestral XY with microautosomes. We applied next generation sequencing of flow sorting-derived chromosome-specific DNA pools to characterize the content and composition of microchromosomes in A. carolinensis and A. sagrei. Comparative analysis of sequenced chromosome-specific DNA pools revealed that the A. sagrei XY sex chromosomes contain regions homologous to several microautosomes of A. carolinensis. We suggest that the sex chromosomes of A. sagrei are derived by fusions of the ancestral sex chromosome with three microautosomes and subsequent loss of some genetic content on the Y chromosome.
    Article · Jul 2016 · Molecular Genetics and Genomics
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chromocenters are interphase nuclear landmark structures of constitutive heterochromatin. The tandem repeat (TR)-enriched parts of different chromosomes cluster together in chromocenters. There has been progress in recent years in determining the protein content of chromocenters, although it is not clear which DNA sequences underly constitutive heterochromatin apart from the TRs. The aim of the current work was to find out which DNA sequences besides TRs are involved in chromocenters’ formation. Biochemically isolated chromocenters and microdissected centromeric regions were amplified by DOP-PCR, then cloned and sequenced. Alignment to Repbase, the mouse reference genome and WGS databases separated the sequences from both libraries into three groups: (1) sequences with similarity to pericentromere mouse major satellite; (2) sequences without similarity to any repetitive sequences; (3) sequences with similarity to long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs). LINE-related sequences have a disperse pattern distribution on chromosomes predicted in silico. Selected clones were used for fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). The 10 clones tested hybridized to chromocenters and centromeric regions of metaphase chromosomes. These clones were used for double FISH with four known cloned TRs (satDNA, satellite DNA) and a probe specific for the sex chromosomes. The probes bind various chromocenters’ regions without overlapping; so, FISH results reveal a complex chromocenter composition. We mapped 18 LINE-derived clones to the RepBase L1 records. Most of them grouped in a ∼2-kb region at the end of the second ORF and 3′ untranslated region (UTR). So, even the limited number of the clones allows us to determine the region of the L1 element that is specific for heterochromatic regions. Although the L1 full-length probe did not hybridize at detectable levels to the heterochromatic region on any chromosome, the 2-kb fragment found is definitely a part of these regions. The precise LINE ∼2-kb fragment is the component of mouse and human constitutive heterochromatin enriched with TRs. The method used for amplification of the probes from two sources of the heterochromatic material uncovered the enrichment of a precise fragment of LINE within chromocenters.
    Article · Apr 2016 · Chromosome Research
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mammalian Y Chromosome sequence, critical for studying male fertility and dispersal, is enriched in repeats and palindromes, and thus, is the most difficult component of the genome to assemble. Previously, expensive and labor-intensive BAC-based techniques were used to sequence the Y for a handful of mammalian species. Here, we present a much faster and more affordable strategy for sequencing and assembling mammalian Y Chromosomes of sufficient quality for most comparative genomics analyses and for conservation genetics applications. The strategy combines flow sorting, short- and long-read genome and transcriptome sequencing, and droplet digital PCR with novel and existing computational methods. It can be used to reconstruct sex chromosomes in a heterogametic sex of any species. We applied our strategy to produce a draft of the gorilla Y sequence. The resulting assembly allowed us to refine gene content, evaluate copy number of ampliconic gene families, locate species-specific palindromes, examine the repetitive element content, and produce sequence alignments with human and chimpanzee Y Chromosomes. Our results inform the evolution of the hominine (human, chimpanzee, and gorilla) Y Chromosomes. Surprisingly, we found the gorilla Y Chromosome to be similar to the human Y Chromosome, but not to the chimpanzee Y Chromosome. Moreover, we have utilized the assembled gorilla Y Chromosome sequence to design genetic markers for studying the male-specific dispersal of this endangered species.
    Full-text Article · Mar 2016 · Genome Research
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    Dataset: S3 Fig
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: a) G-banded conserved regions between NLA, HME and MMU. (*) Asterix indicate the regions MMU1distal and MMU11proximal not found in the mapping of Hass et al. [21] in NLA. Arrow indicates the region, which does not hybridize to any MMU. Invers: inversion. b) Chromosomes of NLA (NLA9, NLA14 and NLA15) which homologous segments were identified by FISH but are not G-banding conserved. Dark lines delimit the conserved regions. Adapted from Nagamachi et al. [19] and Guilly et al. [29]. (JPG)
    Full-text Dataset · Jan 2016
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sigmodontinae rodents show great diversity and complexity in morphology and ecology. This diversity is accompanied by extensive chromosome variation challenging attempts to reconstruct their ancestral genome. The species Hylaeamys megacephalus-HME (Oryzomyini, 2n = 54), Necromys lasiurus-NLA (Akodontini, 2n = 34) and Akodon sp.-ASP (Akodontini, 2n = 10) have extreme diploid numbers that make it difficult to understand the rearrangements that are responsible for such differences. In this study we analyzed these changes using whole chromosome probes of HME in cross-species painting of NLA and ASP to construct chromosome homology maps that reveal the rearrangements between species. We include data from the literature for other Sigmodontinae previously studied with probes from HME and Mus musculus (MMU) probes. We also use the HME probes on MMU chromosomes for the comparative analysis of NLA with other species already mapped by MMU probes. Our results show that NLA and ASP have highly rearranged karyotypes when compared to HME. Eleven HME syntenic blocks are shared among the species studied here. Four syntenies may be ancestral to Akodontini (HME2/18, 3/25, 18/25 and 4/11/16) and eight to Sigmodontinae (HME26, 1/12, 6/21, 7/9, 5/17, 11/16, 20/13 and 19/14/19). Using MMU data we identified six associations shared among rodents from seven subfamilies, where MMU3/18 and MMU8/13 are phylogenetic signatures of Sigmodontinae. We suggest that the associations MMU2entire, MMU6proximal/12entire, MMU3/18, MMU8/13, MMU1/17, MMU10/17, MMU12/17, MMU5/16, MMU5/6 and MMU7/19 are part of the ancestral Sigmodontinae genome.
    Full-text Article · Jan 2016 · PLoS ONE
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    Dataset: S2 Table
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analysis of syntenic blocks of Mus musculus shared between rodents Muroideos the New and Old World based on literature data. Key to abbreviations: MMU = M. musculus; prox = proximal; med = medium and dist = distal. (DOC)
    Full-text Dataset · Jan 2016
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    Dataset: S1 Table
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Homeologies among Akodon paranaensis (APA; [17]) and Hylaeamys megacephalus (HME; [19]) whole chromosome probes according to Fig 3A in Suarez et al. [18]. (DOC)
    Full-text Dataset · Jan 2016
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    Dataset: S1 Fig
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hybridization of each Hylaeamys megacephalus whole chromosome probe on chromosome pairs of Necromys lasiurus. (JPG)
    Full-text Dataset · Jan 2016
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    Dataset: S2 Fig
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hybridization of each Hylaeamys megacephalus whole chromosome probe on chromosome pairs of Akodon sp. (JPG)
    Full-text Dataset · Jan 2016
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    Full-text Dataset · Dec 2015
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    Full-text Dataset · Dec 2015
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    Dataset: S1 Fig
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Giemsa and DAPI stained chromosomes pairs of Akodon montensis with respective signals of each specific-chromosome probes of Hylaemys megacephalus. (JPG)
    Full-text Dataset · Dec 2015
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    Dataset: S2 Fig
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Giemsa and DAPI stained chromosome pairs of Thaptomys nigrita with respective signals of each specific-chromosome probes of Hylaemys megacephalus. (JPG)
    Full-text Dataset · Dec 2015
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sigmodontinae rodents represent one of the most diverse and complex components of the mammalian fauna of South America. Among them most species belongs to Oryzomyini and Akodontini tribes. The highly specific diversification observed in both tribes is characterized by diploid complements, which vary from 2n = 10 to 86. Given this diversity, a consistent hypothesis about the origin and evolution of chromosomes depends on the correct establishment of synteny analyzed in a suitable phylogenetic framework. The chromosome painting technique has been particularly useful for identifying chromosomal synteny. In order to extend our knowledge of the homeological relationships between Akodontini and Oryzomyini species, we analyzed the species Akodon montensis (2n = 24) and Thaptomys nigrita (2n = 52) both from the tribe Akodontini, with chromosome probes of Hylaeamys megacephalus (2n = 54) of the tribe Oryzomyini. The results indicate that at least 12 of the 26 autosomes of H. megacephalus show conserved synteny in A. montensis and 14 in T. nigrita. The karyotype of Akodon montensis, as well as some species of the Akodon cursor species group, results from many chromosomal fusions and therefore the syntenic associations observed probably represent synapomorphies. Our finding of a set of such associations revealed by H. megacephalus chromosome probes (6/21; 3/25; 11/16/17; and, 14/19) provides phylogenetic information for both tribes. An extension of these observations to other members of Akodontini and Oryzomyini tribes should improve our knowledge about chromosome evolution in both these groups.
    Full-text Article · Dec 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) is a South American Gruiformes, the only member of Family Eurypigidae. In most phylogenetic proposals, it is placed in a more distant position than other families of the so-called "core Gruiformes". Different studies based on molecular, morphological and biogeographical data suggest that the Eurypigidae is closely related to the kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus), the only species in Rynochetidae, another family not included in the core Gruiformes. Here, the karyotype of the sunbittern is described for the first time, by classical and molecular cytogenetics, using whole chromosome probes derived from Gallus gallus and Leucopternis albicollis. We found a diploid number of 80, with only one pair of biarmed autosomal macrochromosomes, similar to that observed in the kagu. Chromosome painting revealed that most syntenies found in the avian putative ancestral karyotype (PAK) were conserved in the sunbittern. However, PAK1, PAK2, and PAK5 corresponded to two chromosome pairs each. Probes derived from L. albicollis confirm that fissions in PAK1 and PAK2 were centric, whereas in PAK5 the fission is interstitial. In addition, there is fusion of segments homologous to PAK2q and PAK5. From a phylogenetic point of view, comparisons of our results with two other Gruiformes belonging to family Rallidae suggest that the PAK5q fission might be a synapomorphy for Gruiformes. Fissions in PAK1 and PAK2 are found only in Eurypigidae, and might also occur in Rynochetidae, in view of the similar chromosomal morphology between the sunbittern and the kagu. This suggests a close phylogenetic relationship between Eurypigidae and Rynochetidae, whose common ancestor was separated by the Gondwana vicariancy in South America and New Caledonia, respectively.
    Full-text Article · Dec 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous cross-species painting studies with probes from chicken (Gallus gallus) chromosomes 1–10 and a paint pool of nineteen microchromosomes have revealed that the drastic karyotypic reorganization in Accipitridae is due to extensive synteny disruptions and associations. However, the number of synteny association events and identities of microchromosomes involved in such synteny associations remain undefined, due to the lack of paint probes derived from individual chicken microchromosomes. Moreover, no genome-wide homology map between Accipitridae species and other avian species with atypical karyotype organization has been reported till now, and the karyotype evolution within Accipitriformes remains unclear. To delineate the synteny-conserved segments in Accipitridae, a set of painting probes for the griffon vulture, Gyps fulvus (2n = 66) was generated from flow-sorted chromosomes. Together with previous generated probes from the stone curlew, Burhinus oedicnemus (2n = 42), a Charadriiformes species with atypical karyotype organization, we conducted multidirectional chromosome painting, including reciprocal chromosome painting between B. oedicnemus and G. fulvus and cross-species chromosome painting between B. oedicnemus and two accipitrid species (the Himalayan griffon, G. himalayensis 2n = 66, and the common buzzard, Buteo buteo, 2n = 68). In doing so, genome-wide homology maps between B. oedicnemus and three Accipitridae species were established. From there, a cladistic analysis using chromosomal characters and mapping of chromosomal changes on a consensus molecular phylogeny were conducted in order to search for cytogenetic signatures for different lineages within Accipitriformes. Our study confirmed that the genomes of the diurnal birds of prey, especially the genomes of species in Accipitriformes excluding Cathartidae, have been extensively reshuffled when compared to other bird lineages. The chromosomal rearrangements involved include both fusions and fissions. Our chromosome painting data indicated that the Palearctic common buzzard (BBU) shared several common chromosomal rearrangements with some Old World vultures, and was found to be more closely related to other Accipitridae than to Neotropical buteonine raptors from the karyotypic perspective. Using both a chromosome-based cladistic analysis as well as by mapping of chromosomal differences onto a molecular-based phylogenetic tree, we revealed a number of potential cytogenetic signatures that support the clade of Pandionidae (PHA) + Accipitridae. In addition, our cladistic analysis using chromosomal characters appears to support the placement of osprey (PHA) in Accipitridae.
    Full-text Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Evolutionary Biology
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    Malcolm A Ferguson-Smith
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The events that have led to the development of cytogenetics as a specialty within the life sciences are described, with special attention to the early history of human cytogenetics. Improvements in the resolution of chromosome analysis has followed closely the introduction of innovative technology. The review provides a brief account of the structure of somatic and meiotic chromosomes, stressing the high conservation of structure in plants and animals, with emphasis on aspects that require further research. The future of molecular cytogenetics is likely to depend on a better knowledge of chromosome structure and function.
    Full-text Article · Dec 2015 · Molecular Cytogenetics
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The subfamily Arvicolinae consists of a great number of species with highly diversified karyotypes. In spite of the wide use of arvicolines in biological and medicine studies, the data on their karyotype structures are limited. Here, we made a set of painting probes from flow-sorted chromosomes of a male Palearctic collared lemming (Dicrostonyx torquatus, DTO). Together with the sets of painting probes made previously from the field vole (Microtus agrestis, MAG) and golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus, MAU), we carried out a reciprocal chromosome painting between these three species. The three sets of probes were further hybridized onto the chromosomes of the Eurasian water vole (Arvicola amphibius) and northern red-backed vole (Myodes rutilus). We defined the diploid chromosome number in D. torquatus karyotype as 2n = 45 + Bs and showed that the system of sex chromosomes is X1X2Y1. The probes developed here provide a genomic tool-kit, which will help to investigate the evolutionary biology of the Arvicolinae rodents. Our results show that the syntenic association MAG1/17 is present not only in Arvicolinae but also in some species of Cricetinae; and thus, should not be considered as a cytogenetic signature for Arvicolinae. Although cytogenetic signature markers for the genera have not yet been found, our data provides insight into the likely ancestral karyotype of Arvicolinae. We conclude that the karyotypes of modern voles could have evolved from a common ancestral arvicoline karyotype (AAK) with 2n = 56 mainly by centric fusions and fissions.
    Article · Nov 2015 · Chromosome Research