PLOS ONE: an inclusive, peer-reviewed, open-access resource from the PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE. Reports of well-performed scientific studies from all disciplines freely available to the whole world.
The genus Camellia, belonging to the family Theaceae, is economically important group in flowering plants. Frequent interspecific hybridization together with polyploidization has made them become taxonomically “difficult taxa”. The DNA content is often used to measure genome size variation and has largely advanced our understanding of plant evolution and genome variation. The goals of this study were to investigate patterns of interspecific and intraspecific variation of DNA contents and further explore genome size evolution in a phylogenetic context of the genus.Methodology/Principal Findings
The DNA amount in the genus was determined by using propidium iodide flow cytometry analysis for a total of 139 individual plants representing almost all sections of the two subgenera, Camellia and Thea. An improved WPB buffer was proven to be suitable for the Camellia species, which was able to counteract the negative effects of secondary metabolite and generated high-quality results with low coefficient of variation values (CV) <5%. Our results showed trivial effects on different tissues of flowers, leaves and buds as well as cytosolic compounds on the estimation of DNA amount. The DNA content of C. sinensis var. assamica was estimated to be 1C = 3.01 pg by flow cytometric analysis, which is equal to a genome size of about 2940 Mb.Conclusion
Intraspecific and interspecific variations were observed in the genus Camellia, and as expected, the latter was larger than the former. Our study suggests a directional trend of increasing genome size in the genus Camellia probably owing to the frequent polyploidization events.