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There are only a few reports on the chromosomal location of DNA sequences in bivalve species, none of them using meiotic chromosomes. Mitotic chromosomes of the clam Dosinia exoleta were analysed by means of Giemsa, silver and fluorochrome staining and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) with 18S + 28S rDNA and telomeric probes. A technique for surface spreading of synaptonemal complexes (SCs) of Dosinia exoleta was developed for the first time in a bivalve species. Silver and DAPI/PI staining and SC-FISH were also applied to the study of the meiotic chromosomes of this clam. The diploid chromosome number in this species is 38 and the karyotype is composed of 11 pairs of metacentric and eight pairs of submetacentric chromosomes. 18S + 28S rDNA clusters map to the subtelomeric region of the short arm of one metacentric chromosome pair whereas telomeric signals appear at both ends of every chromosome.