From Mediterranean coasts to Tatra Mountains and beyond: Plant chromosome number variation

Nov 27, 2012
The three target European countries (Italy, Slovakia and Poland) of the study. Credit: L. Peruzzi et al.

Chromosome number is the most basic feature concerning the genome of a species, and it is known for about one third of higher plant species. In particular, for plants of Italy, Slovakia, and Poland, online chromosome number databases have been developed: 'Chrobase.it – Chromosome numbers for the Italian flora', 'Karyological database of ferns and flowering plants of Slovakia' and 'Chromosome number database – PLANTS', respectively. The three datasets account for about 35%, 60% and 40% of the whole floras, respectively.

"We used these datasets to compare chromosome number variation among plants of the three countries, with the aim to verify whether the patterns of chromosome number variation parallel the differences in latitudinal ranges" said Dr Peruzzi, leading author of the article, published in the open access journal Comparative Cytogenetics.

A concept that the occurrence of multiple copies (polyploidy) in plants tend to increase with latitude had already been formed in the second half of twentieth century, but pioneer works in this field had not significant statistical coverage, due to the absence of large, readily accessible datasets.

In the study, significant differences among the three countries were evidenced, confirming that mean chromosome number increases with increasing latitude. Mean chromosome number was used as an objective proxy of polyploidy.

In perspective, it would be interesting to verify whether the same chromosome number evolution dynamics occurs in the Austral hemisphere as well. Unfortunately, as far as we are aware, large chromosome number databases of these territories with significant latitudinal variations are not available, at the moment.

Explore further: The origin of the language of life

More information: Peruzzi L, Góralski G, Joachimiak AJ, Bedini G (2012) Does actually mean chromosome number increase with latitude in vascular plants? An answer from the comparison of Italian, Slovak and Polish floras. Comparative Cytogenetics 66(4): 371–377. doi: 10.3897/CompCytogen.v6i4.3955

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chromosome number changes in yeast

Jul 21, 2011

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have uncovered the evolutionary mechanisms that have caused increases or decreases in the numbers of chromosomes in a group of yeast species during the last 100-150 million years. The ...

Chromosome imbalances lead to predictable plant defects

Nov 03, 2010

Physical defects in plants can be predicted based on chromosome imbalances, a finding that may shed light on how the addition or deletion of genes and the organization of the genome affects organisms, according ...

Genome duplication encourages rapid adaptation of plants

May 03, 2011

Plants adapt to the local weather and soil conditions in which they grow, and these environmental adaptations are known to evolve over thousands of years as mutations slowly accumulate in plants' genetic code. But a University ...

Recommended for you

The origin of the language of life

Dec 19, 2014

The genetic code is the universal language of life. It describes how information is encoded in the genetic material and is the same for all organisms from simple bacteria to animals to humans. However, the ...

Quest to unravel mysteries of our gene network

Dec 18, 2014

There are roughly 27,000 genes in the human body, all but a relative few of them connected through an intricate and complex network that plays a dominant role in shaping our physiological structure and functions.

EU court clears stem cell patenting

Dec 18, 2014

A human egg used to produce stem cells but unable to develop into a viable embryo can be patented, the European Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.