Variable Changes in Genome Size Associated with Different Polyploid Events in Plantago (Plantaginaceae): Genome Size and Polyploidy in Plantago
The genus Plantago (Plantaginaceae) in New Zealand comprises species that can be difficult to delimit and contains a wide range of ploidy levels from diploid to 16-ploid. To investigate whether there have been changes in genome size associated with polyploid events and whether pollen and guard cell size can be used as an initial guide to identify polyploids, we have used flow cytometry with propidium iodide as the stain to measure the genome size (DNA C-value) in a range of Plantago species with different ploidy levels. Light microscopy was used to measure pollen diameter and guard cell length in these plants to see whether these could be used for ploidy level identification. Large differences in C-value were observed between species but the extent of changes associated with different polyploid events was highly variable. Pollen diameter was correlated with C-value but not necessarily with ploidy level. Guard cell lengths were different between diploids and polyploids but not between the different polyploid species. The significance of the changes in genome size and its relationship to pollen and stomatal guard cell size is discussed.