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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Chromatin diminution, the fragmentation and elimination of chromosome regions during early embryogenesis, occurs in some species of free-living, fresh-water copepods. We studied the variation in timing of this developmental trait by examining durations of cell stages in several genera of Cyclopidae. Chromatin diminution varied in timing within and among genera, and ranged from the 8-64-cell stage. The timing of chromatin diminution, as measured by the number of hours post fertilization, differs considerably within and among genera. An unusually long cell-stage duration relative to that of other cell stages is indicative of the stage during which chromatin diminution occurs or the preceding stage. Thus, the relative length of cell-stage durations within a species is a reliable assay for the presence or absence of chromatin diminution.


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