The fishes of the Loricariidae family have a huge genetic diversity, mainly involving variations in the number and shape of chromosomes. The recognition of the species genus Pseudacanthicus is complex due to the large diversity of forms and limited knowledge of their genetic diversity. In this study, the karyotypes of three Pseudacanthicus species were comparatively analyzed using classical and molecular methods. They presented the same diploid number, but with different compositions of repetitive DNA sequences. Such information can be useful for the recognition of distinct species, in addition to providing important insights into the real biodiversity of this important group of Neotropical fish.
Pseudacanthicus is a genus of Neotropical fish with eight valid species, in addition to numerous lineages not formally identified. It occurs along the Amazon and Tocantins River basins, in Suriname and in the Guiana shield. There are no karyotypic data in the literature for species of this genus. Here, the karyotypes of three Pseudacanthicus species (P. spinosus, P. leopardus and Pseudacanthicus sp.[moderator's note: this is L185]) were comparatively analyzed by classical cytogenetics and fluorescence in situ hybridization using 18S and 5S rDNA probes, U2 snDNA and telomeric sequences. The analyzed species presented 52 chromosomes and KF = 18 m + 34 sm. Constitutive heterochromatin occurred in blocks on a few chromosomes. The 18S rDNA occurred in a single pair; interestingly, P. leopardus presented only one locus of this sequence in its diploid genome. The 5S rDNA sequence occurred in only one pair in P. leopardus, and in multiple sites in Pseudacanthicus sp. and P. spinosus. The snDNA U2 occurred in only one pair in all analyzed species. Telomeric sequences did not show interstitial sites. Although Pseudacanthicus species share the same 2n and KF, repetitive sequence analysis revealed karyotypic diversity among these species. The occurrence of DNA double-strand breaks related to fragile sites, unequal crossing over and transpositions is proposed as the mechanism of karyotypic diversification, suggesting that the conservation of the karyotypic macrostructure is only apparent in this group of fish.
- Keywords: comparative cytogenetics; rDNA; snDNA; repetitive DNA; neotropical ichthyofauna