C-values, which estimate genome size, have puzzled geneticists for years because they bear no relationship to organismal complexity. Though C-values have been estimated for thousands of species, considerably more data are required in order to better understanding genome evolution. This is particularly true for mammals, in which C-values are known for less than 8% of the total number of mammalian species. Among marine mammals, a C-value has been estimated only for the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Thus examination of additional species of marine mammals is necessary for comparative purposes. It will enable a better understanding of marine mammal genome evolution, and it is also relevant to conservation, because larger genome size has been linked to increased likelihood of extinction in some plant and animal groups. Our study presents C-values of seven marine mammal species, including five cetacean species that are endangered to varying degrees. Similarly to the results for other groups, our results suggest that larger genome size in cetaceans is related to an increased likelihood of extinction.
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