Nuclear DNA amount and genome downsizing in natural and synthetic allopolyploids of the genera Aegilops and Triticum

T. Eilam, Y. Anikster, E. Millet, J. Manisterski, M. Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent molecular studies in the genera Aegilops and Triticum showed that allopolyploidization (interspecific or intergeneric hybridization followed by chromosome doubling) generated rapid elimination of low-copy or high-copy, noncoding and coding DNA sequences. The aims of this work were to determine the amount of nuclear DNA in allopolyploid species of the group and to see to what extent elimination of DNA sequences affected genome size. Nuclear DNA amount was determined by the flow cytometry method in 27 natural allopolyploid species (most of which were represented by several lines and each line by several plants) as well as 14 newly synthesized allopolyploids (each represented by several plants) and their parental plants. Very small intraspecific variation in DNA amount was found between lines of allopolyploid species collected from different habitats or between wild and domesticated forms of allopolyploid wheat. In contrast to the constancy in nuclear DNA amount at the intraspecific level, there are significant differences in genome size between the various allopolyploid species, at both the tetraploid and hexaploid levels. In most allopolyploids nuclear DNA amount was significantly less than the sum of DNA amounts of the parental species. Newly synthesized allopolyploids exhibited a similar decrease in nuclear DNA amount in the first generation, indicating that genome downsizing occurs during and (or) immediately after the formation of the allopolyploids and that there are no further changes in genome size during the life of the allopolyploids. Phylogenetic considerations of the origin of the B genome of allopolyploid wheat, based on nuclear DNA amount, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-627
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Aegilops
  • Allopolyploidy
  • DNA content
  • DNA sequence elimination
  • Genome size
  • Triticum
  • Wheat


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