Facuity of Bioscience & Industry, Jeju National University1
Citrus Research Station, National Institute of Horticultural & Herbal Science2
Department of Tea Sciences, Zhejiang University3
Research Institute for Subtropical Agriculture & Biotechnology, Jeju National University4
The study was conducted to investigate the possibility that epigenetic DNA methylation causes tree phenotypic variation in autotetraploids through evaluating the phenotypic variation and DNA methylation in autotetraploids occurred spontaneously from diploid trifoliate orange. Chromosome analysis confirmed that fourteen trifoliate orange trees of selected by flow cytometry were tetraploids (2n = 4X = 36) without any aneuploids. Chromomycin A3 staining determined that these trees were all autotetraploid with doubled chromosome set. Tree phenotypes, such as tree height and width, branching number, length, and angle, internode length, and leaf characteristics, varied in the autotetraploids. Chlorophyll indices were diverse in the autotetraploids, but photosynthetic rates were not significantly different. In addition, a wide range of variation was observed in stomatal density and guard cell length. Analysis of global cytosine DNA methylation showed that there was a variation of the methylation level in autotetraploids. More than half of 14 autotetraploids had at least 2 times higher methylation level than diploid trifoliate orange. The results indicate that tree phenotypic variation in autotetraploids might be related to global DNA methylation for reducing gene redundancy.
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