Rangewide ploidy variation and evolution in Acacia senegal: a north-south divide?

Odee, David W.; Wilson, Julia; Omondi, Stephen; Perry, Annika; Cavers, Stephen. 2015 Rangewide ploidy variation and evolution in Acacia senegal: a north-south divide? AoB Plants, 7, plv011. 16, pp.

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Knowledge of rangewide variation in DNA content and ploidy level may be valuable in understanding the evolutionary history of a species. Recent studies of Acacia senegal report diploids and occasional tetraploids in the Sudano-Sahelian region of sub-Saharan Africa, but nothing is known about the overall extent of DNA ploidy variation within the species. In this study, we determine the DNA content and ploidy level of A. senegal across its native range, and explore whether the variation is related to its evolutionary and colonization history. We used propidium iodide flow cytometry (FCM) to estimate DNA content (2C value) and infer ploidy in 157 individuals from 54 populations on various tissues, using seeds, fresh leaves, dried leaves and twigs and herbarium specimens. The mean 2C DNA (pg ± s.d.) contents detected were 1.47 ± 0.09, 2.12 ± 0.02, 2.89 ± 0.12, and a single individual with 4.51 pg, corresponding to a polyploid series of diploid, triploid, tetraploid and hexaploid individuals. Diploids were confirmed by chromosome counts (2n = 2x = 26). Most populations (90.7 %) were of single ploidy level, while mixed ploidy populations (9.3 %) comprising mostly diploids (2x+3x, 2x+4x and 2x+6x) were restricted to the Sudano-Sahelian and Indian subcontinent regions, its northern range. The species is predominantly diploid, and no mixed ploidy populations were detected in east and southern Africa, its southern range. The geographic pattern of ploidy variation in conjunction with existing phylogeographic and phylogenetic data of the species suggests that polyploids have occurred multiple times in its evolutionary and recent colonization history, including contemporary ecological timescales. The successful use of external tissues of dried twigs in FCM is new, and presents the opportunity to study numerous other dryland woody species.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 2041-2851
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: chromosome variation, Acacia senegal, African acacias, diploids, DNA ploidy level, dried leaves and twigs, flow cytometry, hexaploids, polyploidy tetraploids triploids
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Biology and Microbiology
Date made live: 24 Mar 2015 15:50 +0 (UTC)

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