Acipenseriformes represent a phylogenetically basal clade of ray-finned fish characterized by unusual genomic traits, including paleopolyploid states of extant genomes with high chromosome numbers and slow rates of molecular evolution. Despite a high interest in this fish group, only a limited number of studies have been accomplished on the isolation and characterization of repetitive DNA, karyotype standardization is not yet complete, and sex chromosomes are still to be identified. Here, we applied next-generation sequencing and cluster analysis to characterize major fractions of sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) repetitive DNA. Using FISH, we mapped 16 tandemly arranged sequences on sterlet chromosomes and found them to be unevenly distributed in the genome with a tendency to cluster in particular regions. Some of the satellite DNAs might be used as specific markers to identify individual chromosomes and their paralogs, resulting in the unequivocal identification of at least 18 chromosome pairs. Our results provide an insight into the characteristic genomic distribution of the most common sterlet repetitive sequences. Biased accumulation of repetitive DNAs in particular chromosomes makes them especially interesting for further search for cryptic sex chromosomes. Future studies of these sequences in other acipenserid species will provide new perspectives regarding the evolution of repetitive DNA within the genomes of this fish order.

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