Matoso, R.S., Adega, F., Kjöllerström, H.J., Labuschagne, K., Kotze, A., Fernandes, C., Chaves, R. & Oom, M.M. (2016) Classical and molecular cytogenetics of the panther genet Genetta maculata (Mammalia, Carnivora, Viverridae).Cytogenetic and Genome Research, 149(4), 274-281. DOI:10.1159/000450627 (IF2016 1,354; Q4 Cell Biology)
Genets (Genetta) are a genus of African mammalian carnivorans with 14 currently recognized species, although taxonomic uncertainties remain, particularly regarding the number of species within the large-spotted genet complex. This study presents the first banded karyotype and molecular cytogenetic analysis of a genetically identified panther genet, Genetta maculata, the most common and widespread taxon of the large-spotted genet complex, with a wide distribution in sub-Saharan Africa. Sampled in Gauteng Province, South Africa, it could be assigned to the subspecies G. m. letabae on geographic grounds and had a similar karyotype (2n = 52, FNa = 96) to those published for a panther genet from Ethiopia and for the West African large-spotted genet G. pardina. Notably, the specimen had a different autosomal morphology (2 acrocentric chromosomes) from that previously attributed to letabae(a single acrocentric chromosome), but the latter assignment was uncertain because the studied individuals were captive born and assigned based solely on a presumed origin in the former Transvaal Province of South Africa. Fluorescence in situ hybridization with a telomere repeat probe revealed the presence of telomeric sequences in the centromeres of most chromosomes, the so-called interstitial telomeric sites (ITSs). Since genets seem to have a unique, highly rearranged karyotype among feliforms and relatively low interspecific karyotypic variation, and considering the known instability of ITSs, we suggest that the large amount of ITSs found here might be due to evolutionarily recent extensive genomic rearrangements. This study provides cytogenetic information that contributes to our understanding of chromosomal variation and genomic rearrangements in genets, and valuable baseline data for future studies of karyotype evolution in carnivores in general and viverrids in particular.