, Volume 122, Issue 3, pp 269-276

Cytogenetic studies on Metasequoia glyptostroboides, a living fossil species

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Abstract

The chromosome morphology and meiotic pairing behavior in the pollen mother cells (PMCs) of Metasequoia glyptostroboides were investigated. The results showed that: (1) The chromosome number of the PMCs was 2n=22. (2) The PMCs developed in the successive manner, and the nucleoids in the dynamic development were similar to those of the other gymnosperms. (3) At prophase, most of the chromosomes were unable to be identified distinctively because the chromosomes were long and tangled together. The chromosome segments were paired non-synchronously. At pachytene, the interstitial or terminal regions of some bivalents did not form synapsis and the paired chromosomes showed difference in sizes, indicating that there were structure differences between the homologous chromosomes. (4) At diakinesis, the ring bivalents showed complicated configurations due to the differences in location and number of chiasmata. In addition, there were cross-linked bivalents. (5) At metaphase I, the chromosome configuration of each cell was 8.2II 0 + 1.1II + 1.3II + + 0.8I. Most of the chromosomes were ring bivalents, but some were cross-linked bivalents, rod bivalents, or univalents. (6) 15\% PMCs at anaphase I and 22\% PMCs at anaphase II presented chromosome bridges, chromosome fragments, micronuclei, and lagging chromosomes. Twenty seven percent microspores finally moved into one to three micronuclei. Twenty five percent pollens were abortive. The results indicated that the observed individual of M. glyptostroboideswas probably a parpcentric inversion heterozygote, and there were structural and behavioral differences between the homologous chromosomes. The chromosomal aberration of M. glyptostroboidesmay play an important role in the evolution of this relict species, which is known as a living fossil. Further evidence is needed to test whether the differences between homologous chromosomes were due to hybridization.