Journal Article

Genome size diversity in orchids: consequences and evolution

I. J. Leitch, I. Kahandawala, J. Suda, L. Hanson, M. J. Ingrouille, M. W. Chase and M. F. Fay

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 104, issue 3, pages 469-481
Published in print August 2009 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp003
Genome size diversity in orchids: consequences and evolution

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Background

The amount of DNA comprising the genome of an organism (its genome size) varies a remarkable 40 000-fold across eukaryotes, yet most groups are characterized by much narrower ranges (e.g. 14-fold in gymnosperms, 3- to 4-fold in mammals). Angiosperms stand out as one of the most variable groups with genome sizes varying nearly 2000-fold. Nevertheless within angiosperms the majority of families are characterized by genomes which are small and vary little. Species with large genomes are mostly restricted to a few monocots families including Orchidaceae.

Scope

A survey of the literature revealed that genome size data for Orchidaceae are comparatively rare representing just 327 species. Nevertheless they reveal that Orchidaceae are currently the most variable angiosperm family with genome sizes ranging 168-fold (1C = 0·33–55·4 pg). Analysing the data provided insights into the distribution, evolution and possible consequences to the plant of this genome size diversity.

Conclusions

Superimposing the data onto the increasingly robust phylogenetic tree of Orchidaceae revealed how different subfamilies were characterized by distinct genome size profiles. Epidendroideae possessed the greatest range of genome sizes, although the majority of species had small genomes. In contrast, the largest genomes were found in subfamilies Cypripedioideae and Vanilloideae. Genome size evolution within this subfamily was analysed as this is the only one with reasonable representation of data. This approach highlighted striking differences in genome size and karyotype evolution between the closely related Cypripedium, Paphiopedilum and Phragmipedium. As to the consequences of genome size diversity, various studies revealed that this has both practical (e.g. application of genetic fingerprinting techniques) and biological consequences (e.g. affecting where and when an orchid may grow) and emphasizes the importance of obtaining further genome size data given the considerable phylogenetic gaps which have been highlighted by the current study.

Keywords: AFLP; C-value; chromosome; evolution; genome size; guard cell size; Orchidaceae; Robertsonian fission; Robertsonian fusion

Journal Article.  7176 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.