, Volume 252, Issue 3-4, pp 215-238
Date: 15 Apr 2005

Genome size variation in Macaronesian angiosperms: forty percent of the Canarian endemic flora completed

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Genome sizes for 127 Macaronesian endemic angiosperms from 69 genera and 32 families were estimated using propidium iodide flow cytometry. Only about 30-fold variation in 1C-values was found, ranging from 0.32 pg in Echium bonnetii to 9.52 pg in Scilla dasyantha. Taxa with very small DNA amounts (1C ≤ 1.4 pg) were the most dominant group (71.7%), whereas the frequency of other categories was much lower (18.9% and 9.4% in taxa with small (1.41–3.50 pg) and intermediate 1C-values (3.51–14.00 pg), respectively). Comparisons of average C- and Cx-values between Macaronesian endemics and non-Macaronesian representatives always revealed significantly smaller amounts in the former group at various taxonomic levels (genus, family, major phylogenetic lineage). Potential relationship between nuclear DNA content and insular burst of speciation is suggested owing to the marked prevalence of very small genomes among angiosperms that underwent rapid adaptive radiation. Merging all the genome size data on Macaronesian angiosperms available shows that this flora represents the best covered plant assemblage from the phytogeographic point of view.