Among crustacean Decapoda numerical chromosome variability is frequent, and it has been hypothesized that the presence of supernumerary chromosomes accounts for this variability. Thanks to the improvement of cytogenetic analysis by chromosomal banding techniques, supernumerary B chromosomes (Bs) have been demonstrated in Nephrops norvegicus, Homarus americanus,Palinurus elephas and P. mauritanicus, belonging to different crustacean families. In all four species Bs were variable in number, mainly heterochromatic and undigested by various endonucleases, and in meiosis they showed non-Mendelian segregation. Compared to the other chromosomes of the complement, the Bs are very small in almost all species, but some of them were very large in N. norvegicus.
Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel