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Genetica. 2008 May;133(1):85-91. Epub 2007 Aug 20.

Molecular cytogenetics and characterization of a ZZ/ZW sex chromosome system in Triportheus nematurus (Characiformes, Characidae).

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Departamento de Genética e Evolução, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, São Carlos, SP 13565-905, Brazil.


Chromosomes of Triportheus nematurus, a fish species from family Characidae, were analyzed in order to establish the conventional karyotype, location of C-band positive heterochromatin, Ag-NORs, GC- and AT-rich sites, and mapping of 18S and 5S rDNA with fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The diploid number found was 2n = 52 chromosomes in both males and females. However, the females presented a pair of differentiated heteromorphic chromosomes, characterizing a ZZ/ZW sex chromosome system. The Z chromosome was metacentric and the largest one in the karyotype, bearing C-positive heterochromatin at pericentromeric and telomeric regions. The W chromosome was middle-sized submetacentric, appearing mostly heterochromatic after C-banding and presenting heterogeneous heterochromatin composed of GC- and AT-rich regions revealed by fluorochrome staining. Ag-NORs were also GC-rich and surrounded by heterochromatic regions, being located at the secondary constriction on the short arms of the second chromosome pair, in agreement with 18S rDNA sites detected with FISH. The 18S and 5S rDNA were aligned in tandem, representing an uncommon situation in fishes. The results obtained reinforce the basal condition of the ZZ/ZW sex system in the genus Triportheus, probably arisen prior to speciation in the group.

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