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Cytoplasm, Vacuole and Cell-Wall Magnitudes in Diploid and Tetraploid Barley

Nature volume 155, pages 8990 (20 January 1945) | Download Citation



IN the larger cells of a 'gigas' or 'semi-gigas' allotetraploid, is the increase due to proportionate increases in the cytoplasm, the vacuoles and the cell-walls, or is it mainly due to an increase in one alone or in two of these? By careful analyses of the water, ash, sugar, 'protein', nitrogen, etc., contents of diploid and tetraploid plants of a single variety of barley, Hordeum vulgare, grown under constant nutrient conditions in photothermostats, I. Ekdahl (Arkiv för Botanik (Stockholm), 31, No. 5, 1; 1944) is able to draw some interesting conclusions. Tetraploid leaves assimilate more slowly but have a higher proportion of their dry weight as sugar and ash than diploid leaves, but if this extra sugar and ash is deducted from the total dry weight, a 'residual' dry weight for 'protein', cell-wall, etc., is obtained which is the same in both tetraploid and diploid leaves. Calculated on the residual dry weight, fresh tetraploid leaves contain about 30 per cent more water than the diploids; the roots, on the other hand, have approximately the same composition in tetraploids and diploids, whether calculated on fresh weight or residual dry weight. Thus, "The difference between the leaf structures of tetraploid and diploid barley, apart from the difference in volume, appears to be that the tetraploid leaf cells contain comparatively more water, sugar and ash, while the amounts of cytoplasmic substances are proportionally the same. In the root cells it is mainly only the cell volume which is changed."

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