The subfamily Triatominae (Hemiptera, Reduviidae), vectors of Chagas disease, includes over 140 species. Karyotypic information is currently available for 80 of these species. This paper summarizes the chromosomal variability of the subfamily and how it may reveal aspects of genome evolution in this group. The Triatominae present a highly conserved chromosome number. All species, except 3, present 20 autosomes. The differences in chromosome number are mainly caused by variation in the number of sex chromosomes, due to the existence of 3 sex systems in males (XY, X1X2Y and X1X2X3Y). However, inter- and intraspecific differences in the position, quantity and meiotic behavior of constitutive heterochromatin, in the total genome size, and in the location of ribosomal 45S rRNA clusters, have revealed considerable cytogenetic variability within the subfamily. This cytogenetic diversity offers the opportunity to perform cytotaxonomic and phylogenetic studies, as well as structural, evolutionary, and functional analyses of the genome. The imminent availability of the complete genome of Rhodnius prolixus also opens new perspectives for understanding the evolution and genome expression of triatomines. The application of fluorescence in situ hybridization for the mapping of genes and sequences, as well as comparative analyses of genome homology by comparative genomic hybridization will be useful tools for understanding the genomic changes in relation to evolutionary processes such as speciation and adaptation to different environments.

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