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Flow cytometric analysis of somaclonal variation in lineages of Hosta sports detects polyploidy and aneuploidy chimeras


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B. J. M. Zonneveld, NCB Naturalis, Herbarium section, PO Box 9514, 2300RA Leiden, The Netherlands.


Somaclonal variation of some 124 specially selected cultivars of Hosta Tratt. (Hostaceae) was investigated. Nuclear DNA contents (2C-value) were measured by flow cytometry of leaves and roots of L1, L2 and L3 layers derived from apical meristems. These values were then converted to inferred ploidies by comparing the measured 2C-values and ploidy with those of the parent plant. During tissue-culture propagation, on occasion diploid (L1-L2-L3 = 2-2-2) hostas give rise to polyploids, such as fully tetraploids (4-4-4), and periclinal chimeras, such as partial tetraploids (4-2-2). Continual propagation can result in partial tetraploids becoming full tetraploids. Nuclear DNA of some diploids increased with incomplete chromosome sets resulting in fully aneuploids, such as hostas with a DNA ploidy of L1-L2-L3 = 2.5-2.5-2.5 and 3.7-3.7-3.7, and even in aneuploid periclinal chimeras, such as L1-L2-L3 = 2.5-2-2 and 3.8-2-2. The polyploidy of L1, irrespective of the ploidy of L2 and L3, is found to mainly determine the thickness of leaves. Also the higher the ploidy of L1, the wider and more intense in color is the leaf margin. The measurements of Hosta cultivars and their lineages of sports show that chromosome losses or gains are an important source of new cultivars. The complexity of chromosomal distribution in lineages of several Hosta cultivars is discussed.

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