Genome size variation and species relationships in the genus Hydrangea
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Genome size and base composition in 16 species and subspecies of the Hydrangea, a woody ornamental genus of Hydrangeaceae, were evaluated by flow cytometry in relation to their chromosome number. This is the first such study concerning the genome size of these species together with a karyotype study of the most important species, Hydrangea macrophylla subsp. macrophylla (Hortensia), from an economical point of view. The 2C DNA content ranged from 1.95 pg in Hydrangea quercifolia to 5.00 pg in Hydrangea involucrata. The base composition ranged from 39.9% GC in Hydrangea aspera subsp. sargentiana to 41.1% in Hydrangea scandens subsp. scandens (significant difference at p < 0.05). The smallest genome sizes were those of the three species originating from North or South America. Most of the species studied presented a chromosome number of 2n = 2x = 36, except for those of the section Aspereae which showed 2n = 30, 34 and 36. A primary karyotype has been made for the first time for H. macrophylla subsp. macrophylla. Phylogenetic relationships between species, the origin of chromosome number and an exploration of the genetic diversity within the genus are discussed.
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