In the asexual all-female fish species Poecilia formosa, the Amazon molly, supernumerary chromosomes have frequently been found in both laboratory-reared and wild-caught individuals. While wild-caught individuals with B chromosomes are phenotypically indifferent from conspecifics, individuals carrying B chromosomes from recent introgression events in the laboratory show phenotypic changes. Former analyses showed that the expression of a pigment cell locus is associated with the presence of these B chromosomes. In addition, they contain a so far unidentified locus that confers a higher susceptibility to tumor formation in the presence of pigmentation pattern. Isolation by microdissection and hybridization to metaphase chromosomes revealed that they contain one or several sequences with similarity to a highly repetitive pericentromeric and subtelomeric sequence in A chromosomes. Isolation of one particular sequence by AFLP showed that the B chromosomes contain at least 1 copy of an A-chromosomal region which is highly conserved in the whole genus Poecilia, i.e. more than 5 million years old. We propose it to be a single copy sequence.

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