Mitotic chromosome analysis has proven to be an important tool in monitoring the potential for genetic exchange among related plant species. One major obstacle to using mitotic chromosome analysis in any species is obtaining large numbers of clear, well-spread metaphase chromosomes necessary to perform cytological techniques such as chromosome banding and fluorescent in situ hybridization. The ability to obtain good chromosome spreads is in part determined by the number and morphology of the roots, which contain the metaphase tissue. Many Amaranthus species produce very thin, delicate roots. The technique used in the process described herein provides for much more substantial roots, allowing for higher probability of obtaining well-spread metaphase chromosomes. Seeds were planted in a soilless mixture, and then cuttings and leaves were taken from the plants. The cuttings were sterilized and placed in Murashige and Skoog (MS) media, while leaf tissue was analyzed by flow cytometry, both pre- and post-propagation, to obtain DNA contents. No changes in DNA content were observed. The in vitro procedure produced significantly larger roots than were produced in soilless mix. Furthermore, all of the in vitro roots observed had 32 chromosomes of normal morphology. In vitro root propagation allowed large numbers of roots to be obtained from a single plant, thereby resulting in increased probability of obtaining cells with metaphase chromosomes that reflected the original plants' chromosome numbers and therefore may be used for molecular cytogenetic analysis.
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Vol. 41 • No. 6