The fundamental goal in cytogenetics is to analyze how the structure and behavior of chromosomes guarantee the conservation of the genetic information throughout the process of inheritance, and how the chromosomal variations could affect the evolutionary process. The aim of this study is to ascertain the cytogenetical relationships of three abalone species from California. Larval cells were obtained from Haliotis corrugata, H. fulgens, and H. rufescens to obtain metaphase chromosomes. Karyotype analysis showed that all studied species have a diploid number of 2 n = 36 chromosomes. However, the relationship of chromosomal arms lengths showed that H. rufescens has 8M 9SM 1ST (metacentric submetacentric subtelocentric) chromosome pairs, H. fulgens has 8M 8SM 2ST, and H. corrugata has 10M 7SM 1ST. Statistical analyses carried out on abalone chromosomal morphology showed that from the 18 chromosome pairs of each species, 8 pairs were similar in all three species; 3 pairs were specific to H. rufescens, 7 pairs to H. fulgens, and 2 pairs to H. corrugata. Chromosome relationships showed that H. rufescens and H. corrugata are cytogenetically more similar to each other than either is with respect to H. fulgens. We suggest that significant chromosomal rearrangements occurred during the evolution of Haliotidae on the California coast. The implications of the karyological composition of California abalone and their genome sizes are discussed.
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