Fluorescent in situ hybridization, C-banding/DAPI, and CMA3-fluorescence were performed to reveal the cytomolecular constitution of the standard (A) and supernumerary (B) chromosomes of an autotetraploid Tradescantia virginiana L. The analyses show that translocations and/or inversions have occurred during the evolution of the T. virginiana karyotype, generating a significant level of structural heterozygosity. Regarding the structural level, the present paper confirms the occurrence of small subterminal duplications and/or inversions in T. virginiana already suggested by previous authors. Interestingly, many of the distal chromosome segments in T. virginiana possess duplicated subterminal telomere clusters, heterochromatin, 5S and 45S rDNAs orderly intermixed and share this complex cytomolecular architecture with the common type of a B chromosome. Based on the obtained results, it is proposed that in T. virginiana the B chromosome may have arisen via excision from the distal region of an A chromosome. The nascent B could have retained much of the ancestral sequence arrangement, including duplicated telomeric cluster(s), heterochromatin and rDNA, but developed a new centromere/kinetochore to successfully propagate through the cell cycle.

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