Environmentally Induced Nuclear 2C DNA content Instability in Helianthus annuus (Asteraceae) Academic Article uri icon


  • Experiments were conducted to detect developmental and environmental factors that influence nuclear DNA content in H. annuus inbred lines RHA 271 and RHA 299. DNA content (2C) was determined by laser flow cytometry of nuclei isolated from first leaf pair of seedlings grown in a greenhouse and in growth chambers. DNA content of greenhouse grown seedlings was highly variable, ranging from ≃3.2 to 8.0 pg for RHA 299 and ≃5.2 to 8.2 pg for 271. DNA content only weakly correlated to the position of the achene in the head from which the seedlings derived, and not at all to the position of the head on the plant. Experimentally varied environmental parameters of heat stress and water deficit, phosphate fertilizer levels in the substrate, and pH had little or no effect on the DNA content of seedlings. Seedlings grown with increased levels of substrate nitrogen in the form of NH4NO3 showed a significant increase in the mean DNA content. Plants grown in one of two types of growth chambers possessed less variability in DNA content, ≃6.2-8.4 pg for RHA 299 and ≃6.8-7.4 pg for RHA 271. Plants grown in a second growth chamber were highly variable with DNA content ranging from ≃3.0 to 8.6 pg for RHA 299 and ≃3.0 to 7.8 pg for RHA 271. Measurable physical differences between the growth chambers were irradiance level and the ratio of red to far red light. The hypothesis is presented that DNA stability of sunflowers is influenced by light quantity and/or quality.

published proceedings

  • American Journal of Botany

author list (cited authors)

  • Johnston, J. S., Jensen, A., Czeschin, D. G., & Price, H. J.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Johnston, J Spencer||Jensen, Andrea||Czeschin, Don G||Price, H James

publication date

  • September 1996