Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 298, Issue 1, pp 139–146 | Cite as

Ploidy level and genome size of locally adapted populations of Silene ciliata across an altitudinal gradient

  • Alfredo García-FernándezEmail author
  • José M. Iriondo
  • Joan Vallès
  • Juan Orellana
  • Adrián Escudero
Original Article


Silene ciliata Poiret is a small perennial that presents several ploidy levels and inhabits the mountain ranges of the European Mediterranean basin. Recent studies have shown evidence of local adaptation in populations located across an altitudinal gradient in Sierra de Guadarrama (Central Spain) at the species’ southernmost distribution limit. In this study, we assessed whether the existence of local adaptation in these populations was related to differences in karyological features (ploidy level or chromosome number modification) or in nuclear DNA amount. Optical microscope (phase contrast and epifluorescence after DAPI staining) and flow cytometry were used to estimate the ploidy level and genome size of several family lines in three populations across the altitude gradient. With a sampling three times higher than usual in genome size assessments, all individuals showed a constant diploid set (2n = 24), so that polyploidy or other chromosome number modifications were discarded. The small genome size found (mean ± SD; 2C = 1.76 ± 0.06 pg) was within the range of those found in other Silene species. Significant differences in genome size were found when the three populations of S. ciliata were compared. The largest genome size found at the intermediate population may be associated to lower environmental stress at the mid elevation, in line with the recent studies in this area.


Altitude gradient Genome size Ploidy level Silene ciliata 



We thank the technical staff the Serveis Cientificotècnics Generals, Universitat de Barcelona, for their support with the flow cytometry analysis, Spencer C. Brown (Centre National de la Reserche Scientifique, Gif-sur-Yvette, France) for providing us with the internal standard, and Teresa Garnatje (Institut Botànic de Barcelona, CSIC-ICUB) and two anonymous referees for the comments on a draft of this paper. We also thank the staff of Parque Natural de las Cumbres, Circo y Lagunas de Peñalara for permission to work in the field area and Lori De Hond for linguistic assistance. This work was supported by the ISLAS (CGL2009-13190-C03-02), LIMITES (CGL2009-07229), Asteraceae VI (CGL2010-22234-C02-02) and REMEDINAL2 projects. A. G-F held a Formación Personal Investigador fellowship (CGL2006-09431/BOS).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfredo García-Fernández
    • 1
    Email author
  • José M. Iriondo
    • 1
  • Joan Vallès
    • 2
  • Juan Orellana
    • 3
  • Adrián Escudero
    • 1
  1. 1.Área de Biodiversidad y ConservaciónESCET, Universidad Rey Juan CarlosMóstolesSpain
  2. 2.Laboratori de Botànica, Facultat de FarmàciaUniversitat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Departamento de Biotecnología, ETSI AgrónomosUniversidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain

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