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This article in TPG

  1. Vol. 3 No. 3, p. 130-141
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: Apr 30, 2010
    Accepted: Nov 16, 2010

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Genome-size Variation in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum): Flow Cytometry and Cytology Reveal Rampant Aneuploidy

  1. Denise E. Costich ,
  2. Bernd Friebe,
  3. Moira J. Sheehan,
  4. Michael D. Casler and
  5. Edward S. Buckler
  1. D.E. Costich and E.S. Buckler, USDA-ARS, Robert Holley Center, Ithaca, NY. D.E. Costich, M.J. Sheehan, and E.S. Buckler, Inst. for Genomic Diversity, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, NY. B. Friebe, Dep. of Plant Pathology, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS. M.D. Casler, USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, WI


Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.), a native perennial dominant of the prairies of North America, has been targeted as a model herbaceous species for biofeedstock development. A flow-cytometric survey of a core set of 11 primarily upland polyploid switchgrass accessions indicated that there was considerable variation in genome size within each accession, particularly at the octoploid (2n = 8X = 72 chromosome) ploidy level. Highly variable chromosome counts in mitotic cell preparations indicated that aneuploidy was more common in octoploids (86.3%) than tetraploids (23.2%). Furthermore, the incidence of hyper- versus hypoaneuploidy is equivalent in tetraploids. This is clearly not the case in octoploids, where close to 90% of the aneuploid counts are lower than the euploid number. Cytogenetic investigation using fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) revealed an unexpected degree of variation in chromosome structure underlying the apparent genomic instability of this species. These results indicate that rapid advances in the breeding of polyploid biofuel feedstocks, based on the molecular-genetic dissection of biomass characteristics and yield, will be predicated on the continual improvement of our understanding of the cytogenetics of these species.

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