The house mice, Mus musculus, of N. E. Scotland and some of the neighbouring Orkney islands carry Robertsonian translocations (centromeric fusions). By comparing the karyotypes, mandible morphology and biochemical variation of samples from four of these populations we suggest that despite chromosomal differences the populations are closely related. Available evidence suggests that the mice may have arrived with the Vikings as early as 600 A.D. and that the chromosomal changes have occurred since then. We found no evidence that the normal, 2n = 40, mice are, by other measures, different from those with Robertsonian translocations. The evidence suggests that these populations have been isolated for a considerable period of time during which there has been a marked reduction of polymorphism and heterozygosity in the island samples, which we tentatively suggest may explain differences observed in the chromosomal evolution of the four populations.
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Nash, H., Brooker, P. & Davis, S. The Robertsonian translocation house-mouse populations of North East Scotland: a study of their origin and evolution. Heredity 50, 303–310 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1038/hdy.1983.32
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