Endopolyploidy In Seed Plants Is Differently Correlated To Systematics, Organ, Life Strategy And Genome Size

M Barow and A Meister

IPK Gatersleben, D-06466 Gatersleben, Germany
Back to Kews Plant Genome Size Meeting Papers


    A negative correlation between genome size and endopolyploidisation was claimed previously (Nagl, 1976), assuming that a minimum amount of DNA necessary for certain cell functions has to be acquired by endopolyploidisation 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. Therefore, we investigated endopolyploidisation of several organs of 54 seed plant species belonging to 14 angiosperm and 2 gymnosperm families.

    The results revealed a low negative correlation between genome size and endopolyploidisation. However, differences between the families, between the different organs of a given species and between the different life cycle types with regard to endopolyploidisation became obvious. A three-way analysis of variance with covariate (ANCOVA) 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 endopolyploidisation.

    The comparison of habitats of 15 investigated Central European species implies that endopolyploidisation represents a means to accelerate the growth of plant species in niches which require and support rapid development. Similar life strategies of species belonging to the same family may have caused similar degrees of endopolyploidisation within families.

    1. Barow M, Meister A. (2003). Plant, Cell and Environment 26: 571-584.
    2. Nagl W. (1976). Nature 261: 614-615.