SEXUAL DIMORPHISM IN NUCLEAR-DNA CONTENT AND FLORAL MORPHOLOGY IN POPULATIONS OF SILENE LATIFOLIA (CARYOPHYLLACEAE)

T R MEAGHER, D E COSTICH

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The evolution of flower size has become a major focus of plant population biology. In order to gain insight into the causal basis for flower-size variation, we have explored the relationship between nuclear DNA content, flower size, and cell size within and among populations of the dioecious plant Silene latifolia. We found significant variation among populations for both DNA content and flower size, with a consistent sexual dimorphism within all populations (males have a bigger genome, but smaller flowers). The overall correlation between DNA content and flower size was negative, especially within males. The cell dimensions of calyx and petal cells were not significantly different between the sexes, indicating that females have bigger flowers because they contain more cells. These findings are discussed in the context of nucleotype theory, which predicts a slower growth rate (division rate) for cells with greater DNA content. This leads to the suggestion that males have smaller flowers because of the relatively slow rate of cell division due to their larger genome. It would be of great interest to know whether associated effects on flower size of changes in genome size of the type investigated in the present study can be generalized to other species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1198-1204
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Volume81
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1994

Keywords

  • GENOME SIZE
  • GENETIC-VARIATION
  • DIOECIOUS PLANT
  • FLOW-CYTOMETRY
  • SELECTION
  • CHROMOSOMES
  • EXPRESSION
  • ASTERACEAE
  • EVOLUTION
  • CHARACTER

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