A rapid means of sex identification in Silene latifolia by use of flow cytometry

Denise E. Costich, Thomas R. Meagher*, Edward J. Yurkow

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Sex identification in dioecious plants using nonflowering material would have broad applications in both basic and applied research. We present a method using flow cytometry for diagnosing the sex of the dioecious species Silene latifolia Poiret (Caryophyllaceae) by means of sexual differences in nuclear DNA content and base-pair composition. Males have a significantly larger genome, attributable to the known sex-chromosome heteromorphism. Males and females also differ in the AT/GC composition, attributable to differences in non-recombining portions of the sex chromosomes. The two measures enable assignment of individuals to sex with a combined error rate of 9%. These results for S. latifolia indicate useful directions for future research into sex diagnostics for other dioecious species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-370
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Molecular Biology Reporter
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1991


  • AT/GC ratio
  • dioecy
  • flow cytometry
  • nuclear DNA content
  • sex chromosomes
  • Silene latifolia


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