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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2005;109(1-3):276-82.

The relationships among lemons, limes and citron: a chromosomal comparison.

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Departamento de Botânica, Centro de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil.


Lemons, limes and citron constitute a group of closely related Citrus species, whose species delimitations and taxonomic relationships are unclear. In order to identify karyotypic similarities and species relationships within this group, the CMA+/DAPI- banding pattern and the distribution of the 5S and 45S rDNA sites of 10 accessions of lime, lemon, and citron were investigated. The four cultivars of C. limon analyzed showed the same pattern of CMA+ bands and rDNA sites, suggesting that they originated from a single germplasm, later differentiated by distinct somatic mutations. The lemons C. jambhiri, C. limonia and C. volkameriana displayed karyotypes very similar to each other, but they differed from C. limon by the absence of a single chromosome with one band in each telomere. The limes, C. aurantifolia and C. limettioides, seemed less related to each other and exhibited different heteromorphic chromosome pairs. In C. aurantifolia, the presence of a chromosome type unknown in all other Citrus species cytologically known so far supports the assumption that this accession may be derived from a hybrid with a species from the subgenus Papeda or from another genus. Citrus medica was the only homozygous accession of this group and all of its chromosome types were clearly represented in limes and lemons, some of them forming heteromorphic pairs. The analysis of the distribution of rDNA sites allowed a further refinement of the comparison among accessions. The lemons and limes were heterozygous for all rDNA sites, whereas C. medica was entirely homozygous. These data support the hypothesis that C. medica is a true species while the other nine accessions are hybrids.

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