Our knowledge of Testudines evolution is limited by the lack of modern cytogenetic data. Compared to other reptiles, there is little information even on chromosome banding, let alone molecular cytogenetic data. Here, we provide detailed information on the karyotype of the European pond turtle Emys orbicularis, a model Emydidae, employing both chromosome banding and molecular cytogenetics. We provide a high-resolution G-banded karyotype and a map of rDNA genes and telomeric sequences using fluorescence in situ hybridization. We test hypotheses of sex-determining mechanisms in Emys by comparative genomic hybridization to determine if Emys has a cryptic sex-specific region. Our results provide valuable data to guide future efforts on genome sequencing and anchoring in Emydidae and for understanding karyotype evolution in Testudines.

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