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1.  High ploidy diversity and distinct patterns of cytotype distribution in a widespread species of Oxalis in the Greater Cape Floristic Region 
Annals of Botany  2013;111(4):641-649.
Background and Aims
Genome duplication is widely acknowledged as a major force in the evolution of angiosperms, although the incidence of polyploidy in different floras may differ dramatically. The Greater Cape Floristic Region of southern Africa is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots and is considered depauperate in polyploids. To test this assumption, ploidy variation was assessed in a widespread member of the largest geophytic genus in the Cape flora: Oxalis obtusa.
Methods
DNA flow cytometry complemented by confirmatory chromosome counts was used to determine ploidy levels in 355 populations of O. obtusa (1014 individuals) across its entire distribution range. Ecological differentiation among cytotypes was tested by comparing sets of vegetation and climatic variables extracted for each locality.
Key Results
Three majority (2x, 4x, 6x) and three minority (3x, 5x, 8x) cytotypes were detected in situ, in addition to a heptaploid individual originating from a botanical garden. While single-cytotype populations predominate, 12 mixed-ploidy populations were also found. The overall pattern of ploidy level distribution is quite complex, but some ecological segregation was observed. Hexaploids are the most common cytotype and prevail in the Fynbos biome. In contrast, tetraploids dominate in the Succulent Karoo biome. Precipitation parameters were identified as the most important climatic variables associated with cytotype distribution.
Conclusions
Although it would be premature to make generalizations regarding the role of genome duplication in the genesis of hyperdiversity of the Cape flora, the substantial and unexpected ploidy diversity in Oxalis obtusa is unparalleled in comparison with any other cytologically known native Cape plant species. The results suggest that ploidy variation in the Greater Cape Floristic Region may be much greater than currently assumed, which, given the documented role of polyploidy in speciation, has direct implications for radiation hypotheses in this biodiversity hotspot.
doi:10.1093/aob/mct030
PMCID: PMC3605962  PMID: 23425783
Cape Floristic Region; cytogeography; flow cytometry; Fynbos; Oxalis obtusa; polyploidy; Succulent Karoo; vegetation
2.  The influence of tetrad shape and intersporal callose wall formation on pollen aperture pattern ontogeny in two eudicot species 
Annals of Botany  2010;106(4):557-564.
Background and Aims
In flowering plants, microsporogenesis is accompanied by various types of cytoplasmic partitioning (cytokinesis). Patterns of male cytokinesis are suspected to play a role in the diversity of aperture patterns found in pollen grains of angiosperms. The relationships between intersporal wall formation, tetrad shape and pollen aperture pattern ontogeny are studied.
Methods
A comparative analysis of meiosis and aperture distribution was performed within tetrads in two triporate eudicot species with contrasting aperture arrangements within their tetrads [Epilobium roseum (Onagraceae) and Paranomus reflexus (Proteaceae)].
Key Results and Conclusions
Intersporal wall formation is a two-step process in both species. Cytokinesis is first achieved by the formation of naked centripetal cell plates. These naked cell plates are then covered by additional thick, localized callose deposits that differ in location between the two species. Apertures are finally formed in areas in which additional callose is deposited on the cell plates. The recorded variation in tetrad shape is correlated with variations in aperture pattern, demonstrating the role of cell partitioning in aperture pattern ontogeny.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcq152
PMCID: PMC2944975  PMID: 20685726
Microsporogenesis; tetrad shape; aperture; callose; Epilobium roseum; Paranomus reflexus

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