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Chromosomal evolution of rDNA and H3 histone genes in representative Romaleidae grasshoppers from northeast Brazil

Marcos S Regueira Neto*, Maria José de Souza and Vilma Loreto

Author Affiliations

Departamento de Genética, CCB, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

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Molecular Cytogenetics 2013, 6:41  doi:10.1186/1755-8166-6-41

Published: 3 October 2013



Grasshoppers from the Romaleidae family are well distributed in the Neotropical Region and represent a diversified and multicolored group in which the karyotype is conserved. Few studies have been conducted to understand the evolutionary dynamics of multigene families. Here, we report the chromosomal locations of the 18S and 5S rDNA and H3 histone multigene families in four grasshopper species from the Romaleidae family, revealed by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH).


The 5S rDNA gene was located in one or two chromosome pairs, depending on the species, and was found in a basal distribution pattern. Its chromosomal location was highly conserved among these species. The 18S rDNA was located in a single medium-sized chromosomal pair in all species analyzed. Its chromosomal location was near the centromere in the proximal or pericentromeric regions. The location of the H3 histone gene was highly conserved, with slight chromosomal location differences among some species. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a megameric chromosome carrying both the chromosomal markers 18S rDNA and the H3 histone genes, thereby expanding our understanding of such chromosomes.


The 5S and 18S rDNA genes and the H3 histone genes showed a conservative pattern in the species that we analyzed. A basal distribution pattern for 5S rDNA was observed with a location on the fourth chromosomal pair, and it was identified as the possible ancestral bearer. The 18S rDNA and H3 histone genes were restricted to a single pair of chromosomes, representing an ancestral pattern. Our results reinforce the known taxonomic relationships between Chromacris and Xestotrachelus, which are two close genera.

Chromosome; Fluorescent in situ hybridization; H3; rDNA