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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Systemic endopolyploidy in Spathoglottis plicata (Orchidaceae) development

Maocheng Yang and Chiang Shiong Loh*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543

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BMC Cell Biology 2004, 5:33  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-5-33

Published: 1 September 2004



Endopolyploidy is developmentally regulated. Presence of endopolyploidy as a result of endoreduplication has been characterized in insects, mammals and plants. The family Orchidaceae is the largest among the flowering plants. Many of the members of the orchid family are commercially micropropagated. Very little has been done to characterize the ploidy variation in different tissues of the orchid plants during development.


The DNA contents and ploidy level of nuclei extracted from various tissues of a tropical terrestrial orchid Spathoglottis plicata were examined by flow cytometry. Sepals, petals and ovary tissues were found to have only a 2C (C, DNA content of the unreplicated haploid chromosome complement) peak. Columns, floral pedicels of newly open flowers and growing flower stems were observed to have an endopolyploid 8C peak in addition to 2C and 4C peaks. In developing floral pedicels, four peaks were observed for 2C, 4C, 8C and 16C. In root tips, there were 2C, 4C and 8C peaks. But in the root tissues at the region with root hairs, only a 2C peak was observed. Nuclei extracted from young leaves shown three peaks for 2C, 4C and 8C. A similar pattern was found in the vegetative tissues of both greenhouse-grown plants and tissue-cultured plantlets. In mature leaves, a different pattern of ploidy level was found at different parts of the leaves. In the leaf tips and middle parts, there were 2C and 4C peaks. Only at the basal part of the leaves, there were three peaks for 2C, 4C and 8C.


Systemic variation of cellular endopolyploidy in different tissues during growth and development of Spathoglottis plicata from field-grown plants and in vitro cultures was identified. The implication of the findings was discussed.