Quantitative changes in DNA, RNA and soluble protein were studied in the early stages of developing cod larvae. Similar macromolecular metabolism was observed in larvae reared under different conditions in laboratory tanks and a saltwater pond. In response to feeding, both groups exhibited high RNA production and elevated RNA DNA ratios but the response of the pond larvae was greater and more rapid. Starved larvae were characterized by higher amounts of total DNA compared with fed larvae, and laboratory fed larvae had a higher total DNA than pond larvae. A common observation for all fed larvae was a sharp increase followed by a decrease in total DNA between the end of the yolk sac period and the time of mass death. The most pronounced difference between starving and feeding larvae was seen in their RNA content. © 1988.
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