Compositional patterns in the nuclear genome of cold-blooded vertebrates

J Mol Evol. 1990 Oct;31(4):265-81. doi: 10.1007/BF02101122.


DNA preparations obtained from 122 species of fishes, 5 species of amphibians, and 13 species of reptiles were investigated in their compositional properties by analytical equilibrium centrifugation in CsCl density gradients. These species represented 21 orders of Osteichthyes, 3 orders of Chondrichthyes, 2 orders of amphibians, and 3 orders of reptiles. Modal buoyant densities of fish DNAs ranged from 1.696 to 1.707 g/cm3, the vast majority of values falling, however, between 1.699 and 1.704 g/cm3, which is the range covered by the DNAs of amphibians and reptiles. In all cases, DNA bands in CsCl were only weakly asymmetrical and only very rarely were accompanied by separate satellite bands (mostly on the GC-rich side). Intermolecular compositional heterogeneities were low in the vast majority of cases, and, like CsCl band asymmetries, at least partially due to cryptic or poorly resolved satellites. The present findings indicate, therefore, that DNAs from cold-blooded vertebrates are characterized by a number of common properties, namely a very wide spectrum of modal buoyant densities, low intermolecular compositional heterogeneities, low CsCl band asymmetries, and, in most cases, small amounts of satellite DNAs. In the case of fish DNAs a negative correlation was found between the GC level and the haploid size (c value) of the genome. If polyploidization is neglected, this phenomenon appears to be mainly due to the fact that increases and decreases in GC are associated with contraction and expansion phenomena, respectively, of intergenic noncoding sequences, which are GC poor relative to coding sequences.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amphibians / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / chemistry
  • Centrifugation, Density Gradient
  • Cytosine / analysis
  • DNA / chemistry
  • Fishes / genetics*
  • Genomic Library*
  • Guanine / analysis
  • Phylogeny
  • Reptiles / genetics*


  • Guanine
  • Cytosine
  • DNA