New insights into sex chromosome evolution in anole lizards (Reptilia, Dactyloidae)

M. Giovannotti, V. A. Trifonov, A. Paoletti, I. G. Kichigin, P. C.M. O’Brien, F. Kasai, G. Giovagnoli, B. L. Ng, P. Ruggeri, P. Nisi Cerioni, A. Splendiani, J. C. Pereira, E. Olmo, W. Rens, V. Caputo Barucchi, M. A. Ferguson-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Anoles are a clade of iguanian lizards that underwent an extensive radiation between 125 and 65 million years ago. Their karyotypes show wide variation in diploid number spanning from 26 (Anolis evermanni) to 44 (A. insolitus). This chromosomal variation involves their sex chromosomes, ranging from simple systems (XX/XY), with heterochromosomes represented by either micro- or macrochromosomes, to multiple systems (X1X1X2X2/X1X2Y). Here, for the first time, the homology relationships of sex chromosomes have been investigated in nine anole lizards at the whole chromosome level. Cross-species chromosome painting using sex chromosome paints from A. carolinensis, Ctenonotus pogus and Norops sagrei and gene mapping of X-linked genes demonstrated that the anole ancestral sex chromosome system constituted by microchromosomes is retained in all the species with the ancestral karyotype (2n = 36, 12 macro- and 24 microchromosomes). On the contrary, species with a derived karyotype, namely those belonging to genera Ctenonotus and Norops, show a series of rearrangements (fusions/fissions) involving autosomes/microchromosomes that led to the formation of their current sex chromosome systems. These results demonstrate that different autosomes were involved in translocations with sex chromosomes in closely related lineages of anole lizards and that several sequential microautosome/sex chromosome fusions lead to a remarkable increase in size of Norops sagrei sex chromosomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-260
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • Anolis
  • Chromosome rearrangements
  • Comparative mapping
  • Ctenonotus
  • Norops
  • Sex chromosome homology


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