Journal Article

The developmental basis of an evolutionary diversification of female gametophyte structure in <i>Piper</i> and Piperaceae

Eric N. Madrid and William E. Friedman

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 103, issue 6, pages 869-884
Published in print April 2009 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online February 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp011
The developmental basis of an evolutionary diversification of female gametophyte structure in Piper and Piperaceae

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

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Background and Aims

Fritillaria-type female gametophyte development is a complex, yet homoplasious developmental pattern that is interesting from both evolutionary and developmental perspectives. Piper (Piperaceae) was chosen for this study of Fritillaria-type female gametophyte development because Piperales represent a ‘hotspot’ of female gametophyte developmental evolution and have been the subject of several recent molecular phylogenetic analyses. This wealth of phylogenetic and descriptive data make Piper an excellent candidate for inferring the evolutionary developmental basis for the origin of Fritillaria-type female gametophytes.

Methods

Developing ovules of Piper peltatum were taken from greenhouse collections, embedded in glycol methacrylate, and serially sectioned. Light microscopy and laser scanning confocal microscopy were combined to produce three-dimensional computer reconstructions of developing female gametophytes. The ploidies of the developing embryos and endosperms were calculated using microspectrofluorometry.

Key Results

The data describe female gametophyte development in Piper with highly detailed three-dimensional models, and document two previously unknown arrangements of megaspore nuclei during early development. Also collected were microspectrofluorometric data that indicate that Fritillaria-type female gametophyte development in Piper results in pentaploid endosperm.

Conclusions

The three-dimensional models resolve previous ambiguities in developmental interpretations of Fritillaria-type female gametophytes in Piper. The newly discovered arrangements of megaspore nuclei that are described allow for the construction of explicit hypotheses of female gametophyte developmental evolution within Piperaceae, and more broadly throughout Piperales. These detailed hypotheses indicate that the common ancestor of Piperaceae minus Verhuellia had a Drusa-type female gametophyte, and that evolutionary transitions to derived tetrasporic female gametophyte ontogenies in Piperaceae, including Fritillaria-type female gametophyte development, are the consequence of key nuclear migration and patterning events at the end of megasporogenesis.

Keywords: Piper; Piperaceae; Piperales; magnoliids; female gametophyte; development; evolution; three-dimensional reconstruction

Journal Article.  7648 words.  Illustrated.

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

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