Comparative cytogenetic and allozyme analysis of Mugil rubrioculus and M. curema (Teleostei : Mugilidae) from Venezuela
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A comparative cytogenetic and allozyme analysis of sympatric specimens of Mugil rubrioculus and M. curema from Venezuela is reported. Specimens of M. rubrioculus exhibit a 2n=48 karyotype with exclusively acrocentric (NF=48) chromosomes, one pair of NORs interstitially located on chromosome pair number 8 and constitutive heterochromatin distributed in pericentromeric position of all chromosomes. Specimens of M. curema show cytogenetic features significantly different in comparison to M. rubrioculus in terms of chromosome number and morphology (2n=24 biarmed chromosomes, NF=48) and NORs location (telomeric region of the largest metacentric pair). Starch gel electrophoresis analysis at 20 presumptive loci reveals a reduced genetic difterentiation between the two species. In fact, though a total of ten private alleles are identified; all loci share alleles between the two species and the obtained Nei's genetic distance (D= 0.060) is lower than the values obtained between other congeneric mullet species. Thus, the cytogenetic and allozyme data sets indicate quite different degrees of genetic divergence between M. rubrioculus and M. curema. This could either reflect an underestimate of molecular divergence owing to cryptic variation or different rates of molecular/chromosomal evolution. Whatever the explanation, this study confirms the power of karyological data in discriminating species of Mugilidae.