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Keywords:

  • endopolyploidy;
  • flow cytometry;
  • genome size;
  • life strategy;
  • nucleotype;
  • phenology;
  • seed plants

ABSTRACT

Endopolyploidy is a systemic feature in seed plants. A negative correlation between genome size and endopolyploidization has been claimed previously, assuming that a minimum amount of DNA, necessary for certain cell functions, has to be acquired by endopolyploidization of the corresponding cells in plants with small genomes. This assumption was based on the analysis of only a limited set of data from few species. In the present study the endopolyploidization of several organs of 54 seed plant species belonging to two gymnosperm and 14 angiosperm families was investigated. The results revealed a low negative correlation between genome size and endopolyploidization. However, differences between the families, between the different organs of a given species and between the different life-cycle types with regard to endopolyploidization became obvious. A three-way analysis of variance with covariate to quantify the impact of the different factors on the extent of endopolyploidization suggested that taxonomic position is the major factor determining the degree of endopolyploidy within a species, while life cycle, genome size and organ type have a minor but also significant effect on endopolyploidization. The comparison of habitats of 16 investigated Central European species implies that endopolyploidization represents a mean to accelerate the growth of plant species in niches, which require and support fast development.