Karyotype and chromosomal location of the major ribosomal RNA genes were studied in the hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria Linnaeus) using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Metaphase chromosomes were obtained from early embryos. Internal transcribed spacers (ITS) between major RNA genes were amplified and used as FISH probes. The probes were labeled with digoxigenin-11-dUTP by polymerase chain reaction and detected with fluorescein-labeled anti-digoxigenin antibodies. FISH with the ITS probes produced two to four signals per nucleus or metaphase. M. mercenaria had a haploid number of 19 chromosomes with a karyotype of seven metacentric, four metacentric or submetacentric, seven submetacentric, and one submetacentric or subtelocentric chromosomes (7M + 4M/SM + 7SM + 1SM/ST). Two ITS loci were observed: one located near the centromere on the long arm of Chromosome 10 and the other at the telomere of the short arm of Chromosome 12. FISH signals on Chromosome 10 are strong and consistent, while signals on Chromosome 12 are variable. This study provides the first karyotype and chromosomal assignment of the major RNA genes in M. mercenaria. Similar studies in a wide range of species are needed to understand the role of chromosomal changes in bivalve evolution.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science