Nuclear morphology, polyploidy, and chromatin elimination in tissue culture of Allium fistulosum L.

Andrzej Joachimiak, Tomasz Ilnicki


The morphology of cell nuclei in callus obtained from root-tip meristems of Allium fistulosum L. (Monocotyledoneae, Alliaceae) was analysed. The most interesting phenomena observed in long-term callus culture were the different mechanisms of cell polyploidization, enlargement of telomeric segments of heterochromatin, and extensive chromatin elimination, associated with instability of nuclei size and DNA content.

Protruding heterochromatin "spikes" were observed on the surface of some di- and polyploid nuclei. The presence of these spikes was connected with the formation of small heterochromatic micronuclei frequently found in the cytoplasm. It is suggested that these micronuclei are produced by direct elimination of heterochromatin from the interphase nuclei.

Polyploid cells accumulated with each successive cell collection. The ploidy level attained by highly polyploid cells was 15C-220C. The shape of the nuclei and heterochromatin distribution suggest that polyploid nuclei in A. fistulosum tissue culture are produced by endoreduplication and by restitution cycles.


Allium; tissue culture; heterochromatin; elimination; telomere; polyploidization; micronuclei

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