, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 825-842
Date: 26 Aug 2011

The effects of rapid desiccation on estimates of plant genome size

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Flow cytometry has become the dominant method for estimating nuclear DNA content in plants, either for ploidy determination or quantification of absolute genome size. Current best practices for flow cytometry involve the analysis of fresh tissue, however, this imposes significant limitations on the geographic scope and taxonomic diversity of plants that can be included in large-scale genome size studies. Dried tissue has been used increasingly in recent years, but largely in the context of ploidy analysis. Here we test rapid tissue drying with silica gel as a method for use in genome size studies, potentially enabling broader geographic sampling of plants when fresh tissue collection is not feasible. Our results indicate that rapid drying introduces comparatively minor error (<10%), which is similar to the error introduced by other common methodological variations such as instrument. Additionally, the relative effect of drying on genome size and data quality varied between species and buffers. Tissue desiccation provides a promising approach for expanding our knowledge of plant genome size diversity.

Responsible Editors: T. Ryan Gregory and Jillian D. Bainard.