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Genome. 2003 Aug;46(4):683-706.

The nucleotypic effects of cellular DNA content in cartilaginous and ray-finned fishes.

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Department of Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.


Cytological and organismal characteristics associated with cellular DNA content underpin most adaptionist interpretations of genome size variation. Since fishes are the only group of vertebrate for which relationships between genome size and key cellular parameters are uncertain, the cytological correlates of genome size were examined in this group. The cell and nuclear areas of erythrocytes showed a highly significant positive correlation with each other and with genome size across 22 cartilaginous and 201 ray-finned fishes. Regressions remained significant at all taxonomic levels, as well as among different fish lineages. However, the results revealed that cartilaginous fishes possess higher cytogenomic ratios than ray-finned fishes, as do cold-water fishes relative to their warm-water counterparts. Increases in genome size owing to ploidy shifts were found to influence cell and nucleus size in an immediate and causative manner, an effect that persists in ancient polyploid lineages. These correlations with cytological parameters known to have important influences on organismal phenotypes support an adaptive interpretation for genome size variation in fishes.

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