Chromosome Number of Marsilea

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THE genus Marsilea has not previously been investigated by modern cytological methods, and we have only the early investigations of Strasburger1 and de Litardiere2 using techniques which experience has shown3 to be unreliable when applied to ferns. It is therefore perhaps of importance to record a clear count of n = 20 (see Fig. 1) for a race of Marsilea minuta from northern India. We believe this to be a diploid and have found 2n = 40 in squashes of root tips. Other cytotypes are, however, also present in this species, notably a sterile triploid with 2n = 60, which reproduces vegetatively but which is otherwise very like the diploid and frequently intermixed with it. Further observations on this material will be published elsewhere.

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  1. 1

    Strasburger, E., Flora, 97, 123 (1907).

  2. 2

    Litardiere, R. de, La Cellule, 31, 255 (1921).

  3. 3

    Manton, I., “Problems of Cytology and Evolution in the Pteridophyta” (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1950).

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MEHRA, P., LOYAL, D. Chromosome Number of Marsilea . Nature 181, 577 (1958) doi:10.1038/181577b0

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