Endopolyploidy in seed plants



Two main attempts have been suggested for the biological significance of endopolyploidy: (i) provision of high DNA amounts to support high synthetic demands in certain cells and (ii) compensation for a lack of nuclear DNA in species with small genomes. However, in seed plants, the positive correlation between DNA content and cell volume of endopolyploid cells suggests other possibilities. Cell size paralleled by the endopolyploidy level has an impact on growth and development. Endopolyploidy levels in turn are characteristic for a given species and even families, reflecting the adaptation to certain habitats during phylogeny. Furthermore, endopolyploidy levels vary to some degree between individuals of one species in response to different environmental conditions. In addition, endopolyploidy differs between different tissues suggests that a certain cell size is advantageous for a given cell function. This article reviews these findings and discusses more conclusive possible functions of endopolyploidy. BioEssays 28: 271–281, 2006. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.