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Keywords:

  • flow cytometry;
  • plants;
  • angiosperms;
  • C-value

Abstract

Flow cytometry provides a rapid, accurate, and simple means to determine nuclear DNA contents (C-value) within plant homogenates. This parameter is extremely useful in a number of applications in basic and applied plant biology; for example, it provides an important starting point for projects involving whole genome sequencing, it facilitates characterization of plant species within natural and agricultural settings, it allows facile identification of engineered plants that are euploid or that represent desired ploidy classes, it points toward studies concerning the role of C-value in plant growth and development and in response to the environment and in terms of evolutionary fitness, and, in uncovering new and unexpected phenomena (for example endoreduplication), it uncovers new avenues of scientific enquiry. Despite the ease of the method, C-values have been determined for only around 2% of the described angiosperm (flowering plant) species. Within this small subset, one of the most remarkable observations is the range of 2C values, which spans at least two orders of magnitude. In determining C-values for new species, technical issues are encountered which relate both to requirement for a method that can provide accurate measurements across this extended dynamic range, and that can accommodate the large amounts of debris which accompanies flow measurements of plant homogenates. In this study, the use of the Accuri C6 flow cytometer for the analysis of plant C-values is described. This work indicates that the unusually large dynamic range of the C6, a design feature, coupled to the linearity of fluorescence emission conferred by staining of nuclei using propidium iodide, allows simultaneous analysis of species whose C-values span that of almost the entire described angiosperms. © 2009 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry