Supplementary Material for: Homomorphic Sex Chromosomes and the Intriguing Y Chromosome of Ctenomys Rodent Species (Rodentia, Ctenomyidae)

Unlike the X chromosome, the mammalian Y chromosome undergoes evolutionary decay resulting in small size. This sex chromosomal heteromorphism, observed in most species of the fossorial rodent Ctenomys, contrasts with the medium-sized, homomorphic acrocentric sex chromosomes of closely related C. maulinus and C. sp. To characterize the sequence composition of these chromosomes, fluorescent banding, self-genomic in situ hybridization, and fluorescent in situ hybridization with an X painting probe were performed on mitotic and meiotic plates. High molecular homology between the sex chromosomes was detected on mitotic material as well as on meiotic plates immunodetected with anti-SYCP3 and anti-γH2AX. The Y chromosome is euchromatic, poor in repetitive sequences and differs from the X by the loss of a block of pericentromeric chromatin. Inferred from the G-banding pattern, an inversion and the concomitant prevention of recombination in a large asynaptic region seems to be crucial for meiotic X chromosome inactivation. These peculiar findings together with the homomorphism of Ctenomys sex chromosomes are discussed in the light of the regular purge that counteracts Muller's ratchet and the probable mechanisms accounting for their origin and molecular homology.