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Open Access Research article

A comparative study of genome organization and inferences for the systematics of two large bushcricket genera of the tribe Barbitistini (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae: Phaneropterinae)

Beata Grzywacz1*, Dragan P Chobanov2, Anna Maryańska-Nadachowska1, Tatyana V Karamysheva3, Klaus-Gerhard Heller4 and Elżbieta Warchałowska-Śliwa1

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals Polish Academy of Sciences, Sławkowska 17, Krakow 31-016, Poland

2 Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria

3 Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia

4 Grillenstieg 18, Magdeburg 39120, Germany

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2014, 14:48  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-14-48

Published: 13 March 2014



Poecilimon and Isophya are the largest genera of the tribe Barbitistini and among the most systematically complicated and evolutionarily intriguing groups of Palearctic tettigoniids. We examined the genomic organization of 79 taxa with a stable chromosome number using classical (C–banding, silver and fluorochrome staining) and molecular (fluorescence in situ hybridization with 18S rDNA and (TTAGG)n telomeric probes) cytogenetic techniques. These tools were employed to establish genetic organization and differences or similarities between genera or species within the same genus and determine if cytogenetic markers can be used for identifying some taxonomic groups of species.


Differences between the karyotypes of the studied genera include some general changes in the morphology of the X chromosome in Isophya (in contrast to Poecilimon). The number of major rDNA clusters per haploid genome divided Poecilimon into two main almost equal groups (with either one or two clusters), while two rDNA clusters predominated in Isophya. In both genera, rDNA loci were preferentially located in the paracentromeric region of the autosomes and rarely in the sex chromosomes. Our results demonstrate a coincidence between the location of rDNA loci and active NORs and GC-rich heterochromatin regions. The C/DAPI/CMA3 bands observed in most Poecilimon chromosomes suggest the presence of more families of repetitive DNA sequences as compared to the heterochromatin patterns in Isophya.


The results show both differences and similarities in genome organization among species of the same genus and between genera. Previous views on the systematics and phylogenetic grouping of certain lineages are discussed in light of the present cytogenetic results. In some cases, variation of chromosome markers was observed to correspond with variation in other evolutionary traits, which is related to the processes of ongoing speciation and hybridization in zones of secondary contact. It was concluded that the physical mapping of rDNA sequences and heterochromatin may be used as an additional marker for understanding interspecific relationships in these groups and their routes of speciation.

FISH; rDNA; Heterochromatin; Evolution; Orthoptera; Poecilimon; Isophya