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Title

Stomatal vs. genome size in angiosperms: the somatic tail wagging the genomic dog?

AuthorsHodgson, J. G.; Montserrat-Martí, Gabriel ; Castro-Díez, Pilar; Pérez-Rontomé, Carmen ; Guerrero Campo, Joaquín; Romo, Àngel ; Torres Espuny, L. de; Simmons, E.
KeywordsStomatal size
Genome size
Seed size
Life history
Photosynthesis
Allometry
Ecology
Evolution
SLA
Leaf structure
CAM
C4
Issue DateApr-2010
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationAnnals of Botany 105(4): 573-584 (2010)
Abstract[Background and Aims]: Genome size is a function, and the product, of cell volume. As such it is contingent on ecological circumstance. The nature of ‘this ecological circumstance’ is, however, hotly debated. Here, we investigate for angiosperms whether stomatal size may be this ‘missing link’: the primary determinant of genome size. Stomata are crucial for photosynthesis and their size affects functional efficiency. [Methods]: Stomatal and leaf characteristics were measured for 1442 species from Argentina, Iran, Spain and the UK and, using PCA, some emergent ecological and taxonomic patterns identified. Subsequently, an assessment of the relationship between genome-size values obtained from the Plant DNA C-values database and measurements of stomatal size was carried out. [Key Results]: Stomatal size is an ecologically important attribute. It varies with life-history (woody species < herbaceous species < vernal geophytes) and contributes to ecologically and physiologically important axes of leaf specialization. Moreover, it is positively correlated with genome size across a wide range of major taxa. [Conclusions]: Stomatal size predicts genome size within angiosperms. Correlation is not, however, proof of causality and here our interpretation is hampered by unexpected deficiencies in the scientific literature. Firstly, there are discrepancies between our own observations and established ideas about the ecological significance of stomatal size; very large stomata, theoretically facilitating photosynthesis in deep shade, were, in this study (and in other studies), primarily associated with vernal geophytes of unshaded habitats. Secondly, the lower size limit at which stomata can function efficiently, and the ecological circumstances under which these minute stomata might occur, have not been satisfactorally resolved. Thus, our hypothesis, that the optimization of stomatal size for functional efficiency is a major ecological determinant of genome size, remains unproven.
Description12 páginas, 5 figuras, 2 tablas.-- et al.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq011
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/35031
DOI10.1093/aob/mcq011
ISSN0305-7364
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