Cytogenetic Studies in Sea Turtles

Sea turtles represent a primitive and particular element of the biological diversity, belonging to the ancient lineage of the living reptiles and being an important part of the marine ecosystem. In this evolutive scenario, it is recognized seven species of sea turtles in the whole world, whereas five of them exist in the Brazilian coast: Dermochelys coriacea – Dermochelydae family; and, four species belonging to the Cheloniidae family – Caretta caretta, Chelonia mydas, Eretmochelys imbricata and Lepidochelys olivacea. Over the last 20 years, molecular genetics has performed an important role concerning the sea turtle conservation, however it has been focused on molecular markers used to observe patterns of migration and genetic diversity. Cytogenetic studies with turtles are scarce and they aim only the fresh water turtles, with commercial interest. . However, there are no cytogenetic studies using sea turtles from Brazilian coast. Therefore, the main goal here is to produce chromosomal markers and evaluate the chromosomal organization and differentiation of the sea turtle karyotypes.