The Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is an important natural resource for northern societies and is now also considered to be a promising candidate for aquaculture. In recent years, much effort has been directed towards the development of genomic tools, and genome initiatives for Atlantic cod have been established. Despite the growing attention devoted to the Atlantic cod genomics, basic aspects of its genome structure and organization remain unknown. Thus, the present work aims to study cytogenetic features of the Atlantic cod as a contribution to the knowledge of this species' genome. The Atlantic cod displays a diploid number of 46 chromosomes, with a karyotypic formula 16 m/sm + 30 st/t. Conventional karyotyping was improved by chromosomal mapping of two classes of repetitive sequences. 18S rDNA clusters were assigned to pairs 2 and 4; small amounts of 18S rDNA clusters were occasionally detected on pair 5. These findings could not be related to the geographical origin of the specimens, but were consistent with the variability of these repeated genes in fish in general. 5S ribosomal gene clusters, apparently corresponding to a single 5S rDNA class, were detected on twelve chromosomes (pairs 11, 12, 14, 17, 20 and 21). The present update of the existing but meagre information on the karyotype of Atlantic cod, plus the first physical mapping of repetitive genes in this species herein, opens the way for an integrated approach that combines genetic and physical mapping with the assembly of the genome of this commercially important species.
© 2012 The Authors, Animal Genetics © 2012 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics.