Ryan N. Contreras and Mara W. Friddle
Joseph J. Rothleutner, Mara W. Friddle and Ryan N. Contreras
The genus Cotoneaster (Rosaceae, Maloideae) is highly diverse, containing ≈400 species. Like other maloids, there is a high frequency of naturally occurring polyploids within the genus, with most species being tetraploid or triploid. Apomixis is also prevalent and is associated with polyploidy. The objective of this study was to estimate genome sizes and infer ploidy levels for species that had not previously been investigated as well as compare estimates using two fluorochromes and determine base pair (bp) composition. Chromosome counts of seven species confirmed ploidy levels estimated from flow cytometric analysis of nuclei stained with 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI). Monoploid (1Cx) genome sizes ranged from 0.71 to 0.96 pg. Differences in monoploid genome size were not related to current taxonomic treatment, indicating that while chromosome sizes may vary among species, there are no clear differences related to subgeneric groups. A comparison of DAPI and propidium iodide (PI) showed a difference in DNA staining in Cotoneaster comparable to other rosaceous species. Base pair composition (AT%) in Cotoneaster ranged from 58.4% to 60.8%, which led to overestimation of genome size estimates in many cases—assuming the estimates of the DNA intercalator are accurate. Our findings will inform breeders with regard to the reproductive behavior of potential parents and may be used to confirm hybrids from interploid crosses.