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Genetic Linkage Map and Comparative Genome Analysis for the Atlantic Killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus)

DOI: 10.4236/ojgen.2016.61004, PP. 28-38

Keywords: Fundulus heteroclitus, Genetic Linkage Map, Synteny Analysis, Microsatellite, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP)

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Genetic linkage maps are valuable tools in evolutionary biology; however, their availability for wild populations is extremely limited. Fundulus heteroclitus (Atlantic killifish) is a non-migratory estuarine fish that exhibits high allelic and phenotypic diversity partitioned among subpopulations that reside in disparate environmental conditions. An ideal candidate model organism for studying gene-environment interactions, the molecular toolbox for F. heteroclitus is limited. We identified hundreds of novel microsatellites which, when combined with existing microsatellites and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), were used to construct the first genetic linkage map for this species. By integrating independent linkage maps from three genetic crosses, we developed a consensus map containing 24 linkage groups, consistent with the number of chromosomes reported for this species. These linkage groups span 2300 centimorgans (cM) of recombinant genomic space, intermediate in size relative to the current linkage maps for the teleosts, medaka and zebrafish. Comparisons between fish genomes support a high degree of synteny between the consensus F. heteroclitus linkage map and the medaka and (to a lesser extent) zebrafish physical genome assemblies.


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