Chondrichthyan cytogenetics: A comparison with teleosteans
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Cytogenetic studies on cartilaginous fish conducted in recent years have shown that these vertebrates have peculiarities associated both with the karyotypes and the size and composition of their DNAs. Although the data for this group, which includes about 1000 extant species, are still fragmentary, there appear to be more differences than similarities with teleosts; e.g., chromosome sets are characterized by a high diploid number (2n=up to 106) and are often rich in acrocentric elements and in microchromosomes. From the quantitative standpoint, chondrichthyan genomes are relatively large (2C=up to 34 pg DNA/n), exhibiting sometimes wide interspecific variability (Squalidae).
The few studies on genome composition for these species have revealed marked difference between chondrichthyans and teleosteans in the ratio of the amount of GC-rich DNA to the total increase in genome. Moreover, thermal denaturation of the genomes of six selachians revealed derived curves that are characteristic of heterogeneity in nucleotide distribution, which has not been evidenced in most of the teleosteans investigated thus far.
Finally, for the first time in selachians, an investigation was conducted using restriction enzymes, the results of which showed a pattern of chromosome labeling that was in some cases (Alu I) similar to and in others (Hae III, Hind III) different from that of teleosteans.
Key wordsChondrichthyes Cytogenetics DNA Chromosomes DNA base pair composition Chromosome banding
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