Two-Hundred-Million-Year-Old Chromosomes: Deceleration of the Rate of Karyotypic Evolution in Turtles

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Science  12 Jun 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4500, pp. 1291-1293
DOI: 10.1126/science.212.4500.1291


Cladistic analyses of chromosomal banding patterns from 48 species of cryptodiran turtles, combined with a fossil-based method for estimating rates of karyotypic change, show that karyotypic evolution was twice as fast and involved different types of rearrangements in Mesozoic turtles when compared to more recent forms. The deceleration in rate of karyotypic change is correlated with decelerated morphological change and is indicative of adaptive evolution. Comparisons of banded karyotypes reveal that some chromosomes have remained unchanged for at least 200 million years.