The present study provides specific cytogenetic information on prometaphase chromosomes of the alpaca (Lama pacos, fam. Camelidae, 2n = 74) that forms a basis for future work on karyotype standardization and gene mapping of the species, as well as for comparative studies and future genetic improvement programs within the family Camelidae. Based on the centromeric index (CI) measurements, alpaca chromosomes have been classified into four groups: group A, subtelocentrics, from pair 1 to 10; group B, telocentrics, from pair 11 to 20; group C, submetacentrics, from pair 21 to 29; group D, metacentrics, from pair 30 to 36 plus sex chromosomes. For each chromosome pair, the following data are provided: relative chromosome length, centromeric index, conventional Giemsa staining, sequential QFQ/C-banding, GTG- and RBG-banding patterns with corresponding ideograms, RBA-banding and sequential RBA/silver staining for NOR localization. The overall number of RBG-bands revealed was 391. Nucleolus organizer-bearing chromosomes were identified as pairs 6, 28, 31, 32, 33 and 34. Comparative ZOO-FISH analysis with camel (Camelus dromedarius) X and Y painting probes was also carried out to validate X-Y chromosome identification of alpaca and to confirm close homologies between the sex chromosomes of these two species.
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