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J Exp Zool B Mol Dev Evol. 2010 Jul 15;314(5):369-81. doi: 10.1002/jez.b.21341.

Genome enablement of the notothenioidei: genome size estimates from 11 species and BAC libraries from 2 representative taxa.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The perciform suborder Notothenoidei provides a compelling opportunity to study the adaptive radiation of a marine species flock in the cold Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. To enable genome-level studies of these psychrophilic fishes, we estimated the sizes of the genomes of 11 Antarctic species and generated high-quality BAC libraries for 2, the notothen Notothenia coriiceps and the icefish Chaenocephalus aceratus. Our results indicate that evolution of phylogenetically derived notothenioid families, [e.g., the icefishes (Channichthyidae)], was accompanied by genome expansion. Species (n=6) of the basal family Nototheniidae had C values that ranged between 0.98 and 1.20 pg, whereas those of the icefishes, the notothenioid crown group, were 1.66-1.83 pg (n=4 species). The BAC libraries VMRC-19 (N. coriiceps) and VMRC-21 (C. aceratus) comprised 12X and 10X coverage of the respective genomes and had average insert sizes of 138 and 168 kb. Greater than 60% of paired BAC ends sampled from each library ( approximately 0.1% of each genome) contained repetitive sequences, and the repetitive element landscapes of the 2 genomes (13.4% of the N. coriiceps genome and 14.5% for C. aceratus) were similar. The representation and depth of coverage of the libraries were verified by identification of multiple Hox gene contigs: six discrete Hox clusters were found in N. coriiceps and at least five Hox clusters were found in C. aceratus. Given the unusual anatomical and physiological adaptations of the notothenioids, the availability of these BAC libraries sets the stage for expanded analysis of the psychrophilic mode of life.

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