Chromosomal rearrangements such as Robertsonian (Rb) fusions constitute a major phenomenon in the evolution of genome organization in a wide range of organisms. Although proximate mechanisms for the formation of Rb fusion are now well identified, the evolutionary forces that drive chromosomal evolution remain poorly understood. In the house mouse, numerous chromosomal races occur in nature, each defined by a unique combination of Rb fusions. Among the 106 different Rb fusions that were reported from natural populations, the low involvement of chromosome 19 in Rb fusions is striking, prompting the question of the randomness of chromosomal involvement in Rb fusions. We uncover a significant quadratic relationship between chromosome size and probability of fusing, which has never previously been in this species. It appears that fusions involving chromosome 19 are not particularly infrequent, given the expected low fusion probability associated with the chromosome's size. The results are discussed, assessing selective processes or constraints that may operate on chromosome size.
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