Open Access

Intraspecific polymorphism of ribosomal DNA loci number and morphology in Brachypodium pinnatum and Brachypodium sylvaticum

Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal201217:25

Received: 5 March 2012

Accepted: 9 August 2012

Published: 15 August 2012


The genus Brachypodium has become the target of extensive cytomolecular studies since one of its representatives, B. distachyon, has been accepted as a model plant for temperate cereals and forage grasses. Recent preliminary studies suggested that intraspecific rDNA polymorphism can occur in at least two members of the genus, B. sylvaticum and B. pinnatum, so the aim of this study was to further analyse this phenomenon. FISH with 25S rDNA and 5S rDNA probes was performed on somatic metaphase chromosomes, supplemented by the silver staining technique which distinguishes transcriptionally active from inactive 18S-5.8S-25S rDNA loci. The number, size and chromosomal distribution of 5S rDNA loci were very constant: two loci were invariably observed in all studied diploid accessions of both species, while four 5S rDNA loci were present in the tetraploid B. pinnatum. In contrast to 5S rDNA loci, those of the 35S rDNA were more variable. Two or three loci were observed in the diploid B. pinnatum and four in tetraploid accessions. In chromosome complements of B. sylvaticum accessions from two to six 35S rDNA sites were detected. Regardless of total rDNA locus number, only two were transcriptionally active in diploid accessions of both species, while two or four were active in the tetraploid B. pinnatum. Additionally, the fluorescent CMA/DAPI banding method was used to identify the relation between rDNA sites and CMA+ bands. It was revealed that the number and chromosomal distribution of CMA+ bands are in congruence only with 35S rDNA loci which gave strong FISH signals.

Key words

Brachypodium Chromomycin A3 DAPI FISH NOR Polymorphism rDNA rRNA genes