The transition to polyploidy is important in plant species’ evolution, but some aspects of polyploidization remain poorly understood. Polyploids are believed to arise primarily through unreduced gamete production, but little data about the rates of occurrence and triggers (genetic and environmental) for unreduced gamete production in natural populations are available. Using relatively new methodology (flow cytometric DNA content measurement of pollen nuclei) we propose to measure unreduced male gamete production rates in natural populations of species in the Brassicaceae, as well as variation in these values within and between populations. We will then relate these measures to aspects of the environment and to the phenotypes of the species.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Brian C. Husband