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Genome. 2014 Oct;57(10):555-66. doi: 10.1139/gen-2014-0090. Epub 2015 Feb 28.

Genome size evolution in Ontario ferns (Polypodiidae): evolutionary correlations with cell size, spore size, and habitat type and an absence of genome downsizing.

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Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.


Genome size is known to correlate with a number of traits in angiosperms, but less is known about the phenotypic correlates of genome size in ferns. We explored genome size variation in relation to a suite of morphological and ecological traits in ferns. Thirty-six fern taxa were collected from wild populations in Ontario, Canada. 2C DNA content was measured using flow cytometry. We tested for genome downsizing following polyploidy using a phylogenetic comparative analysis to explore the correlation between 1Cx DNA content and ploidy. There was no compelling evidence for the occurrence of widespread genome downsizing during the evolution of Ontario ferns. The relationship between genome size and 11 morphological and ecological traits was explored using a phylogenetic principal component regression analysis. Genome size was found to be significantly associated with cell size, spore size, spore type, and habitat type. These results are timely as past and recent studies have found conflicting support for the association between ploidy/genome size and spore size in fern polyploid complexes; this study represents the first comparative analysis of the trend across a broad taxonomic group of ferns.


analyse phylogénétique par la méthode des moindres carrés généralisée; genome downsizing; genome size; phenotype; phylogenetic generalized least squares; phénotype; principal component regression; réduction de la taille du génome; régression des composantes principales; taille du génome

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