2C or not 2C: a closer look at cell nuclei and their DNA content

Greilhuber, J., Doležel, J.
CHROMOSOMA 118: 391-400, 2009

Abstract: The life cycle of animals and plants involves changes in chromosome number (nuclear phase) and sometimes even the karyotype, and consequently the DNA content of a nuclear genome is not static in time. Thus, in order to interpret DNA content data, it is important that the status of the materials from which DNA content is estimated be precisely defined. The previously proposed distinction between "holoploid" (C) and "monoploid" (Cx) genome size covers the most frequent states of plant and animal nuclear genomes. However, restricting nomenclature to just C and Cx still leaves a number of unresolved problems. Here, we propose an extension of the C-value terminology to handle a range of cytogenetic conditions, life cycle segments, and nuclear phases. A set of superscripts and subscripts are used in a formal way to identify life cycle segments and to express the quantitative relationship between these segments. A revision of the current usage of the holoploid chromosome number n was necessary to maintain the intimate link between n and C-value and between the monoploid chromosome number x and Cx-value. In this revision, haplophase individuals (i.e., "haploid" animals and "haploid" spontaneous or experimentally induced land plant sporophytes) have chromosome number n (not 2n, as is the current tradition) and thus nuclear DNA contents based on 1C. However, to avoid an unlimited progression of n levels due to generative polyploidy, zygotic individuals are assigned as 2n starting from the zygote, whatever their ploidy level. Their ploidy is indicated by multiples of the basic chromosome number x. The extended terminology for genome size should eliminate ambiguities in reporting DNA contents in both plants and animals
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IEB authors: Jaroslav Doležel