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Journal of Botany
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 758260, 7 pages
Research Article

Genome Sizes in Hepatica Mill: (Ranunculaceae) Show a Loss of DNA, Not a Gain, in Polyploids

Nationaal Herbarium, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9514, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

Received 8 December 2009; Accepted 25 February 2010

Academic Editor: Johann Greilhuber

Copyright © 2010 B. J. M. Zonneveld. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Genome size (C-value) was applied anew to investigate the relationships within the genus Hepatica (Ranunculaceae). More than 50 samples representing all species (except H. falconeri), from wild and cultivated material, were investigated. Species of Hepatica turn out to be diploid ( 2 𝑛 = 1 4 ), tetraploid ( 2 𝑛 = 2 8 ), and a possible pentaploid. The somatic nuclear DNA contents (2C-value), as measured by flow cytometry with propidium iodide, were shown to range from 33 to 80 pg. The Asiatic and American species, often considered subspecies of H. nobilis, could be clearly distinguished from European H. nobilis. DNA content confirmed the close relationships in the Asiatic species, and these are here considered as subspecies of H. asiatica. Parents for the allotetraploid species could be suggested based on their nuclear DNA content. Contrary to the increase in genome size suggested earlier for Hepatica, a significant (6%–14%) loss of nuclear DNA in the natural allopolyploids was found.