Aplysia californica: Analysis of Nuclear DNA in Individual Nuclei of Giant Neurons

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Science  16 Apr 1971:
Vol. 172, Issue 3980, pp. 278-280
DOI: 10.1126/science.172.3980.278


The nuclei of the giant neurons of the marine mollusk Aplysia californica can contain more than 0.2 microgram of DNA. This is more than 200,000 times as much DNA as the haploid amount found in Aplysia sperm. On the basis of nuclear DNA content, the giant neurons R-2, P-1, and L-6 of adult animals can each be divided into at least two populations. The mean DNA content of these two populations (0.067 and 0.131 microgram of DNA) are approximately related by a factor of 2. This suggests that much and perhaps all of the genome replicates repeatedly (up to 16 times) during the growth and development of these neurons and that each replication is synchronous. The enormous amount of DNA in these cells opens up the possibility of characterizing the DNA and other constituents of chromatin from individual but phenotypically different neurons.