Karyotype diversity suggests that Laonastes aenigmamus (Laotian rock rat) (Rodentia, Diatomyidae) is a multi-specific genus.
Laonastes aenigmamus (Khanyou) is a recently described rodent species living in geographically separated limestone formations of the Khammuan Province in Lao PDR. Chromosomes of 21 specimens of L. aenigmamus were studied using chromosome banding as well as fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques using human painting, telomere repeats, and 28S rDNA probes. Four different karyotypes were established. Study with human chromosome paints and FISH revealed that four large chromosomes were formed by multiple common tandem fusions, with persistence of some interstitial telomeres. The rearrangements separating the different karyotypes (I to IV) were also reconstructed. Various combinations of Robertsonian translocations or tandem fusions involving the same chromosomes differentiate these karyotypes. These rearrangements create a strong gametic barrier, which isolates specimens with karyotype II from the others. C-banding and FISH with telomere repeats also exhibit large and systematized differences between karyotype II and others. These data indicate an ancient reproductive separation and suggest that Laonastes is not a mono-specific genus.
Digital object identifier (DOI): 10.1007/s10577-016-9527-7