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Veterinary Science

First Advisor

Teri L. Lear


Since changes in chromosome morphology contribute to the knowledge of evolution as well as to chromosome dynamics, this study looks specifically at one chromosome compared in twelve different species of Perissodactyls: Equus caballus (ECA), E. przewalskii (EPR), Equus africanus somaliensis (EAF), E. asinus (EAS), E. hemionus onager (EHO), E. h. kulan (EHK), E. h. kiang (EKI), E. zebra hartmannae (EZH), E. grevyi (EGR), E. burchelli (EBU), Tapirus indicus (TIN), and Rhinoceros unicornis (RUN). While chromosome morphology studies have been done in some of the extant equids, none have followed the evolution of this chromosome, homologous to Equus caballus chromosome 20 (ECA20), which contains the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The gene order on the chromosome arm homologous to human chromosome six in most Equidae is reversed with respect to the centromere in comparison to humans. Multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization was used to show that four probes from ECA20 hybridized to ECA20 (control), SWA5, EAS8, EHO16, EHK14, EKI16, EZH10, EGR11, EBU13, TIN4, and one of RUN12, 14, 15, or 22. The order for the four genes in the horses, zebras, and rhinoceros were as follows: cen-EDN1-MHC-ITPR3-MUT. Hybridization to the ass and tapir chromosomes displayed a possible neocentromere formation. It is apparent the chromosome has gone through several morphological changes while undergoing speciation in the Equidae, yet the overall gene order is conserved.