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Ploidal Changes in Clonal Cultures of Spirogyra communis and Implications for Species Definition

Robert W. Hoshaw, Jen-Chyong Wang, Richard M. McCourt and Herbert M. Hull
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 72, No. 7 (Jul., 1985), pp. 1005-1011
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2443443
Page Count: 7
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Ploidal Changes in Clonal Cultures of Spirogyra communis and Implications for Species Definition
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Abstract

A clonal culture of Spirogyra filaments of initially uniform width produced filaments of three additional significantly different widths. Group I filaments of the original clone were 30.9 ± 0.7 μm wide (mean ± SD, N = 50). Group I filaments produced Group II filaments (22.0 ± 1.1 μ m) through vegetative growth and sexual reproduction. Zygospores from homothallic Group I filaments produced germlings representative of Groups I and II; zygospores from homothallic Group II filaments produced germlings representative of Group II only. Germlings of Groups III (27.7 ± 1.0 μm) and IV (44.9 ± 0.8 μm) were produced in the cross of I x II. Viable zygospores from homothallic Group III filaments were obtained. Cells of Group IV filaments were initially binucleate and did not conjugate. Of the six intergroup crosses possible, four resulted in conjugation-tube formation only; two crosses yielded zygospores (I x II and III x IV). Germlings from the successful cross of Groups III and IV produced filaments of all four groups. Chromosome counts were: Group I (24), Group II (12), Group III (18), and Group IV (24, one nucleus). Relative nuclear fluorescence values of mithramycin-stained DNA were (mean ± SD, N ≥ 30): Group I (11.1 ± 1.4), Group II (5.7 ± 0.7), Group III (8.8 ± 1.3), and Group IV (10.0 ± 0.9, one nucleus). Cytologically, Group II appears to be a diploid (2x), Group I a tetraploid (4x), and Group III a triploid (3x). Systematically, Groups I, II, and III key out to Spirogyra singularis, S. communis, and S. fragilis, respectively, using Transeau's mongraph of the family Zygnemataceae. These species are interpreted to represent a species complex of S. communis (whose name has priority) with the ancestral haploid (x = 6) missing.

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