Triploid viviparous onions [Allium x cornutum Clementi ex Visiani 1842, syn Allium cepa L. var. viviparum Metzg. (Alef.), auct.] (2n = 3x = 24), are known in some countries only as rare relict crops. In other parts of the world they are still traditionally or even commercially cultivated. In previous cytogenetic studies of the Croatian triploid viviparous onion Ljutika, Giemsa C-banding, chromosome pairing analysis during meiosis, and genomic hybridization in situ indicated a complex hybrid with highly heterozygous karyotype structure, with possible triparental genome organization. This study continues an analysis of the karyotype structure of Ljutika. Staining with fluorochromes CMA3 (Chromomycin A3) and Dapi (4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole) confirmed previous results from Giemsa C-banding and revealed GC-rich heterochromatic regions associated mainly with chromosome ends and nucleolus organizing regions (NORs), and only a few interstitial bands. Fish mapping of the ribosomal 18S-5.8S-26S genes revealed two major rDNA signals on the short arms of two subtelocentric satellite chromosomes in almost all metaphase plates of Ljutika. The largest subtelocentric chromosome lacked rDNA signals. A significantly smaller rDNA signal was occasionally located on one small submetacentric chromosome. These results are in agreement with previously published results from identification of NORs by silver-staining technique, which confirmed a maximum three nucleoli in interphase nuclei. We discuss the molecular mechanisms underlying rearrangements and activity of ribosomal genes in the triploid karyotype.
Here we report the consequences of telomere erosion in Arabidopsis thaliana, studied by examining seed and pollen production and the course of male meiosis through the last five generations (G5-G9) of telomerase-deficient Arabidopsis mutants. We used a previously described mutant line in which telomerase activity was abolished by T-DNA insertion into the TERT gene encoding telomerase reverse transcriptase. Reduced fertility accompanied by morphological abnormalities occurred in G6, which produced on average 35 seeds per silique (vs. 43 in wild type) and worsened in G7 (30 seeds) and G8 (14 seeds), as did the morphological abnormalities. The last generation of tert mutants (G9) did not form reproductive organs. Analysis of meiosis indicated that the main cause of reduced fertility in the late generation tert mutants of Arabidopsis was the numerous chromosomal end-to-end fusions which led to massive genome rearrangements in meiocytes. Fusion of meiotic chromosomes began in G5 and increased in each of the next generations. Unpaired chromosomes (univalents) were observed in G7 and G8. The study highlights some differences in the meiotic consequences of telomere shortening between plant and animal systems.