Molecular cytogenetic analysis and genomic organization of major DNA repeats in castor bean (Ricinus communis L.)
Pachytene chromosome morphology was compared in nine races ofRicinus communis L. (2n = 20), using pollen mother cells (PMCs) and light microscopy. Of the ten bivalents, only the two possessing nucleolar organizing regions (NORs), chromosomes 2 and 7, exhibit structural variations among the races. The NORs are located in the short arms of these two chromosomes. Most of the observed structural variations affect these short arms, which are similar morphologically and consist largely of heterochromatic segments. The PMCs contain a single nucleolus and this is associated with the NOR of each of the two chromosomes at a particular frequency in each race. In eight races, a nucleolar constriction (NC) is present in either chromosome 2 or chromosome 7. In these races, the nucleolus is associated with the chromosome possessing an NC at a frequency of 100% and with the chromosome lacking an NC at a frequency ranging between 5.6 and 100%, depending upon the race. No microscopically visible NC is present in the ninth race. In this race, the nucleolus is associated with both chromosomes 2 and 7 at a frequency of 100%. The association of the nucleolus with a chromosome possessing an NC is at the NC and with a chromosome lacking an NC is at the terminal heterochromatic segment of the short arm. Several interpretations are offered to account for the variations in frequency of association between the nucleolus and each of the nucleolar organizing chromosomes. It is suggested that the two non-linked NORs have evolved through some intragenomic changes rather than polyploidy, that this species is highly intolerant to structural variations other than those occurring in or near the NORs, and that structural variations in the nucleolar organizing chromosomes are not associated with racial variations in plant phenotype.