The B chromosomes are accessory elements that are widely distributed among eukaryotic genomes and often show non-Mendelian inheritance. They are considered dispensable for the growth, development, and reproduction of organisms. Some studies have suggested that these elements may affect sex determination. Harttia is a small armored catfish genus that shows sexual dimorphism, including hypertrophied odontodes on the pectoral fin spines and along the margins of the snout in mature males. They exhibit considerable karyotypic diversity with diploid number (2n) variation and heteromorphic sex system in H. carvalhoi. To date, no occurrences of B chromosomes in the Harttia genus were detected and no relation to sexual differentiation in Neotropical fish has been determined. To determine the validity of this claim, the present paper characterized specimens of Harttia longipinna by classical and molecular cytogenetic methods. The 2n found was 58 (16m 12sm 16st 14a), but of the 50 specimens analyzed (30 male and 20 female), 23 specimens (16 males and seven females) show an intra-individual from 0 to 2 micro B chromosomes. The B chromosomes were completely heterochromatic. The single NORs were shown in the first acrocentric pair with silver staining and 18S rDNA probing. FISH performed with 5S rDNA probe showed a single cistron in the proximal region of the short arm of a small metacentric pair. Thus, the cytogenetic data obtained in this study of H. longipinna highlight the karyotypic diversity found within the genus Harttia, and represent the first description of B chromosomes for this genus.
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Vol. 29 • No. 9