Cytogenetic studies in Trachymyrmex holmgreni Wheeler, 1925 (Formicidae: Myrmicinae) by conventional and molecular methods

Luísa Antônia Campos Barros, Gisele Amaro Teixeira, Hilton Jeferson Alves Cardoso de Aguiar, Denilce Meneses Lopes, Silvia das Graças Pompolo


Over the past several decades, ant cytogenetic studies have focused on chromosome number and morphology; however, recently, additional information concerning heterochromatin composition and 45S rDNA location has become accessible. The fungus-growing ants are a peculiar ant group that cultivates fungus for food, and Trachymyrmex is suspected to be the sister group of leafcutter ants. Cytogenetic data are so far available for sixn Trachymyrmex species. The present study aimed to increase the knowledge about Trachymyrmex cytogenetics by the chromosomal characterization of Trachymyrmex holmgreni including the karyotyping, fluorochromes staining, 18S rDNA, and microsatellite (GA)15 fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Karyotyped samples from four ant colonies showed 2n = 20 metacentric chromosomes. Centromeric heterochromatin rich in GC base pairs was detected in all chromosomes. FISH revealed the presence of rDNA clusters on the fourth chromosome pair, and an intense spreading of the microsatellite (GA)15 including exclusively euchromatic areas of the chromosomes. The GC-rich heterochromatin observed in different ant species may have a common origin and, thus, phylogenetic implication that needs to be further investigated. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first report of the use of chromosomal physical location of repetitive DNA sequences by means of microsatellite probes in Formicidae.


heterochromatin; FISH; ribosomal genes; microsatellite repeats; ant

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