Unusual variations in nuclear DNA contents in the marine copepod Pseudocalanus.

  • Julian Robins, I. A. McLaren
  • Published 1982 in Canadian journal of genetics and cytology. Journal canadien de genetique et de cytologie


Variations in DNA/nucleus within adult females are similar, when normalized for mean differences, in the copepods Pseudocalanus sp. and Eurytemora herdmani. However, Pseudocalanus shows great variation among individuals, with no evidence of significant groupings (species?), except perhaps for a few individuals with abnormally small DNA values. Body lengths of adult female Pseudocalanus are approximately proportional to the cube root of DNA/nucleus. It is inferred that nuclear size, not nuclear number, determines body size, and this is supported by generally similar nuclear counts in newly hatched nauplii and among first copepodid stages. Although body size and development rate of Pseudocalanus had earlier been shown to be strongly heritable, an offspring-parent regression reflected no heritability of DNA/nucleus (and some abnormally small offspring values) under the probably suboptimal conditions of rearing. Some variability in DNA content of adult somatic nuclei may be related to chromatin diminution during embryogenesis. An unusual loss of nonchromosomal, Feulgen-positive material is documented for first cleavage in Pseudocalanus, but not E. herdmani.


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