Colchicine-induced chromosome doubling in Platanus acerifolia and its effect on plant morphology
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We report the production of tetraploid plants of Platanus acerifolia, with the ultimate aim of improving the ornamental qualities of this important urban landscaping tree. Chromosome doubling was achieved by the application of colchicine to either pre-soaked seed or to the apical meristems of young seedlings. Treatment of the ungerminated seed was the more efficient method in terms of numbers of tetraploid seedlings (up to 40%, as determined by chromosome counting of the root-tip nuclei) but this method produced no mature tetraploid plants due to the deleterious effect of colchicine on subsequent root growth. When colchicine was applied directly to the apical growing tip of cotyledon-stage seedlings, leaf and stem growth was temporarily affected but the plants eventually recovered. We conducted a preliminary screen for putative tetraploids based on the observation in other plant species of a correlation of stomatal size and distribution with ploidy. Plants containing significantly larger stomata and at a lower density across the lower leaf epidermis, were selected for further analysis by flow cytometry and chromosome counting. These techniques confirmed that, of the 12 putative polyploids, four were tetraploid, five were mixoploid and three were, in fact, diploid. Morphological differences of the tetraploids included a more compact growth habit and broader, thicker leaves. These plants are being grown to full maturity in order to test their potential for use in a breeding programme aimed at producing sterile triploid lines.
KeywordsLondon Plane Chromosome doubling Colchicine Flow cytometry Polyploid Tetraploid
This research was financially supported by the Key Project of Ministry of Education (grant no. 03117) to Prof. Bao MZ and the Science and Technology Innovation Fund of Huazhong Agricultural University (grant no. 03007) to Dr Liu GF. The authors thank Dr Alex C. McCormac for critically editing the manuscript.
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