Population structure, fluctuating asymmetry and genetic variability in an endemic and highly isolated Astyanax fish population (Characidae)

Morphological and chromosomal markers were used to infer the structure and genetic variability of a population of fish of the genus Astyanax, geographically isolated at sinkhole 2 of Vila Velha State Park, Paraná, Brazil. Two morphotypes types were observed, the standard phenotype I and phenotype II which showed an anatomical alteration probably due to an inbreeding process. Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) analysis of different characters showed low levels of morphological variation among the population from sinkhole 2 and in another population from the Tibagi river (Paraná, Brazil). The Astyanax karyotype was characterized in terms of chromosomal morphology, constitutive heterochromatin and nucleolar organizer regions. Males and females presented similar karyotypes (2n=48, 6M+18SM+14ST+10A) with no evidence of a sex chromosome system. One female from sinkhole 2 was a natural triploid with 2n=3x=72 chromosomes (9M+27SM+21ST+15A). The data are discussed regarding the maintenance of population structure and their evolutionary importance, our data suggesting that Astyanax from the Vila Velha State Park sinkhole 2 is a recently isolated population.

Fish; Astyanax sp.; fluctuating asymmetry; karyotype structure; triploidy; genetic conservation

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