BackgroundDiverse plant and animal species have B chromosomes, also known as accessory, extra or supernumerary chromosomes. Despite being widely distributed among different taxa, the genomic nature and genetic behavior of B chromosomes are still poorly understood.ResultsIn this study we describe the occurrence of B chromosomes in the African cichlid fish Haplochromis obliquidens. One or two large B chromosome(s) occurring in 39.6% of the analyzed individuals (both male and female) were identified. To better characterize the karyotype and assess the nature of the B chromosomes, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was performed using probes for telomeric DNA repeats, 18S and 5S rRNA genes, SATA centromeric satellites, and bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) enriched in repeated DNA sequences. The B chromosomes are enriched in repeated DNAs, especially non-active 18S rRNA gene-like sequences.ConclusionOur results suggest that the B chromosome could have originated from rDNA bearing subtelo/acrocentric A chromosomes through formation of an isochromosome, or by accumulation of repeated DNAs and rRNA gene-like sequences in a small proto-B chromosome derived from the A complement.
A substantial fraction of the eukaryotic genome consists of repetitive DNA sequences that include satellites, minisatellites, microsatellites, and transposable elements. Although extensively studied for the past three decades, the molecular forces that generate, propagate and maintain repetitive DNAs in the genomes are still discussed. To further understand the dynamics and the mechanisms of evolution of repetitive DNAs in vertebrate genome, we searched for repetitive sequences in the genome of the fish species Hoplias malabaricus. A satellite sequence, named 5SHindIII-DNA, which has a conspicuous similarity with 5S rRNA genes and spacers was identified. FISH experiments showed that the 5S rRNA bona fide gene repeats were clustered in the interstitial position of two chromosome pairs of H. malabaricus, while the satellite 5SHindIII-DNA sequences were clustered in the centromeric position in nine chromosome pairs of the species. The presence of the 5SHindIII-DNA sequences in the centromeres of several chromosomes indicates that this satellite family probably escaped from the selective pressure that maintains the structure and organization of the 5S rDNA repeats and become disperse into the genome. Although it is not feasible to explain how this sequence has been maintained in the centromeric regions, it is possible to hypothesize that it may be involved in some structural or functional role of the centromere organization.
BackgroundCichlid fishes have been the subject of increasing scientific interest because of their rapid adaptive radiation which has led to an extensive ecological diversity and their enormous importance to tropical and subtropical aquaculture. To increase our understanding of chromosome evolution among cichlid species, karyotypes of one Asian, 22 African, and 30 South American cichlid species were investigated, and chromosomal data of the family was reviewed.ResultsAlthough there is extensive variation in the karyotypes of cichlid fishes (from 2n = 32 to 2n = 60 chromosomes), the modal chromosome number for South American species was 2n = 48 and the modal number for the African ones was 2n = 44. The only Asian species analyzed, Etroplus maculatus, was observed to have 46 chromosomes. The presence of one or two macro B chromosomes was detected in two African species. The cytogenetic mapping of 18S ribosomal RNA (18S rRNA) gene revealed a variable number of clusters among species varying from two to six.ConclusionsThe karyotype diversification of cichlids seems to have occurred through several chromosomal rearrangements involving fissions, fusions and inversions. It was possible to identify karyotype markers for the subfamilies Pseudocrenilabrinae (African) and Cichlinae (American). The karyotype analyses did not clarify the phylogenetic relationship among the Cichlinae tribes. On the other hand, the two major groups of Pseudocrenilabrinae (tilapiine and haplochromine) were clearly discriminated based on the characteristics of their karyotypes. The cytogenetic mapping of 18S ribosomal RNA (18S rRNA) gene did not follow the chromosome diversification in the family. The dynamic evolution of the repeated units of rRNA genes generates patterns of chromosomal distribution that do not help follows the phylogenetic relationships among taxa. The presence of B chromosomes in cichlids is of particular interest because they may not be represented in the reference genome sequences currently being obtained.
To enhance our understanding of the organization of the genome and chromosome evolution of cichlid fish species, we have isolated and physically mapped onto the chromosomes the transposable elements (TEs) Rex1, Rex3 and Rex6, which are conserved in teleost fish, in the chromosomes of African and South American cichlid species. The physical mapping of different Rex elements showed that they are primarily compartmentalized in the pericentromeric heterochromatic regions, although dispersed or clustered signals in euchromatic regions were also observed. The presence of TEs in heterochromatin can be correlated with their role in the structure and organization of heterochromatic areas (such as centromeres) or with the lower selective pressure that act on these gene-poor regions. The Rex elements were also concentrated in the largest chromosome pair of the Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus. This chromosome pair is supposed to have originated by fusions, demonstrating the possible involvement of TEs with chromosome rearrangements. Besides general patterns of chromosomal distribution, comparative analysis suggests that Rex elements could differ in their chromosomal distribution among different fish groups or species and that intrinsic aspects of the genomes could influence the spread, accumulation or elimination of TEs.
Repeated DNA elements have been extensively applied as physical chromosome markers in comparative studies for the identification of chromosomal rearrangements, the identification of sex chromosomes, chromosome evolution analysis and applied genetics. Here, we report the characterization of the transposable elements (TE) Tc1, Rex1, Rex3 and Rex6 and a new element called RCk in the genome of the South American cichlid fish Cichla kelberi using nucleotide sequence analysis and hybridization to metaphase chromosomes. The analysis of the repeated elements demonstrated that they are, in most cases, compartmentalized in heterochromatic regions, as has been observed in several other vertebrates. On the other hand, the elements Rex1 and Rex3 were also observed spanning extensive euchromatic regions on 2 chromosome pairs. The RCk element exhibits a wide distribution among fishes and also in amphibians, and it was spread throughout the chromosomes of C. kelberi. Our results have demonstrated that the compartmentalization of repeated elements is not restricted to heterochromatic segments, which has provided new concepts with regard to the genomic organization of transposons.
Cichlid fishes have been the subject of increasing scientific interest because of their rapid adaptive radiation that has led to extensive ecological diversity and because of their enormous importance to tropical and subtropical aquaculture. To further understanding of chromosome evolution among cichlid species, we have comparatively mapped the SATA satellite DNA, the transposable element ROn-1, and repeated sequences in the bacterial artificial chromosome clone BAC-C4E09 on the chromosomes of a range of African species of Cichlidae, using fluorescence in situ hybridization. The SATA satellite DNA was mapped in almost all the centromeres of all tilapiine and haplochromine species studied. The maintenance and centromeric distribution of the SATA satellite DNA in African cichlids suggest that this sequence plays an important role in the organization and function of the centromere in these species. Furthermore, analysis of SATA element distribution clarifies that chromosome fusions occurred independently in Oreochromis and Tilapia genera, and led to the reduced chromosome number detected in O. karongae and T. mariae. The comparative chromosome mapping of the ROn-1 SINE-like element and BAC-C4E09 shows that the repeated sequences have been maintained among tilapiine, haplochromine and hemichromine fishes and has demonstrated the homology of the largest chromosomes among these groups. Furthermore, the mapping of ROn-1 suggested that different chromosomal rearrangements could have occurred in the origin of the largest chromosome pairs of tilapiines and non-tilapiines.
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