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Articles
Published: 2021-06-30

An illustrated step-by-step protocol for investigating liverwort chromosomes

Systematic Botany and Mycology, Department of Biology, University of Munich (LMU), 80638 Munich, Germany
Systematic Botany and Mycology, Department of Biology, University of Munich (LMU), 80638 Munich, Germany
Bryophyte Liverworts chromosome preparation antimitotic chemicals protocols

Abstract

Cytogenetic studies in bryophytes have been limited by the difficulty of obtaining sufficient dividing nuclei and by the absence of modern protocols. The technical difficulties stem from the plants’ small size and lack of roots and pollen mother cells, the main sources of cells in division in vascular plants. In bryophytes instead, tiny sporophytes, antheridia, or phyllid meristems must be used to obtain meiotic or mitotic chromosome spreads. We here describe the preparation of such spreads from phyllids, antheridia, and sporophytes in several species of liverworts and compare available protocols with or without prefixation treatments. We also provide illustrated step-by-step instructions. The three prefixation agents (including colchicine) that we tested failed to improve synchronization of cell divisions. Young sporophytes were the best source of diploid synchronized cells, while antheridia were the best source of haploid cells. For meiotic nuclei, a short fixation of capsule tissue at the right developmental stage with 45% acetic acid sufficed to conserve the DNA for cytological investigations, while for mitotic nuclei, fixation in 3:1 ethanol/glacial acetic acid for a longer period (4–24 h) worked well.

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