Journal Article

Cytogeography and genome size variation in the <i>Claytonia perfoliata</i> (Portulacaceae) polyploid complex

Patrick J. McIntyre

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 110, issue 6, pages 1195-1203
Published in print November 2012 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online September 2012 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Cytogeography and genome size variation in the Claytonia perfoliata (Portulacaceae) polyploid complex

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


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Background and Aims

Genome duplication is a central process in plant evolution and contributes to patterns of variation in genome size within and among lineages. Studies that combine cytogeography with genome size measurements contribute to our basic knowledge of cytotype distributions and their associations with variation in genome size.


Ploidy and genome size were assessed with direct chromosome counts and flow cytometry for 78 populations within the Claytonia perfoliata complex, comprised of three diploid taxa with numerous polyploids that range to the decaploid level. The relationship between genome size and temperature and precipitation was investigated within and across cytotypes to test for associations between environmental factors and nuclear DNA content.

Key Results

A euploid series (n = 6) of diploids to octoploids was documented through chromosome counts, and decaploids were suggested by flow cytometry. Increased variation in genome size among populations was found at higher ploidy levels, potentially associated with differential contributions of diploid parental genomes, variation in rates of genomic loss or gain, or undetected hybridization. Several accessions were detected with atypical genome sizes, including a diploid population of C. parviflora ssp. grandiflora with an 18 % smaller genome than typical, and hexaploids of C. perfoliata and C. parviflora with genomes 30 % larger than typical. There was a slight but significant association of larger genome sizes with colder winter temperature across the C. perfoliata complex as a whole, and a strong association between lower winter temperatures and large genome size for tetraploid C. parviflora.


The C. perfoliata complex is characterized by polyploids ranging from tetraploid to decaploid, with large magnitude variation in genome size at higher ploidy levels, associated in part with environmental variation in temperature.

Keywords: Claytonia perfoliata; Portulacaceae; flow cytometry; C-value; cytogeography; genome duplication; DNA content

Journal Article.  5307 words.  Illustrated.

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

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