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"More Means Better"
"The Role of Endoreduplication iIn Higher Plants Development"


University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture and Biotechnology
Department of Plant Genetics, Physiology and Biotechnology Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Cytometry
Kaliskiego 7, 85-789 Bydgoszcz


Colourful dreams - inside the hibiscus, tulip and morning glory flowers; 2016; Bydgoszcz

Description popularizing the research project

Ancient sculptures of heroes and athletes show, beyond any doubt, that a man from the very beginning paid a lot of attention to the beauty of the body. Although the canon of beauty kept changing in the follow of fashions, the canon has been always desired as an ideal to follow. The struggle to overcome one's weakness to get the coveted figure made the humanity seek other, smarter ways to get the muscles ripped, with the use of latest discoveries in medicine and pharmacology. Genetic doping seems to be the pinnacle achievement in the field. Thanks to imperceptible manipulations in selected cells, the sports world counts on an increase in muscle mass, strength and stamina which will not raise any suspicions. Yet, such a treatment, discarding its questionable ethical aspect, is difficult, costly and risky.
The ideas how to reach the ideal by following such a shortcut would seem to be just a fantasy if Nature had not known them for millions of years. Meadows, forests and fields are full of plants which would have to be disqualified for life if the World Anti-Doping Agency applied its rules to them. Competition for light and water knows no anti-doping tests. In cells of tissues and organs of many plants, researchers discover multiplied copies of genes. Perhaps, thanks to the gene doping, the plants which gained the ability to store multiplied complete genetic material within their cells, won against the ones which fell behind with few genetic resources. Perhaps that is why the plants grow faster and their organs and tissues mature earlier. Perhaps the feature, evolved for countless generations, is now indispensible for their proper growth and development.
Gene-doped evolutionary competition is a fact. Adaptation to changing environmental conditions and competitive pressure is based on fixed genetic changes, which may be inherited by next generations. The phenomenon of endoreduplication, i.e. replicating genetic material within plant cells, may be an example of a solution contributing to an evolutionary triumph. Closer analyses of the phenomenon may be still used also for our benefit. Yet, not for developing a new method to shape the body, but for growing plants, especially the ones which are staples.


Endoreduplication is an alternative form of the cell cycle in somatic tissues, in which the re-peated rounds of nuclear DNA replication occur without subsequent mitosis and cell division. It is suggested that endoreduplication promotes cell enlargement and high levels of gene ex-pression to facilitate rapid growth and maturation of the tissue/organ. As endoreduplication occurs in tissues displaying high metabolic activity it has also been suggested that endoredu-plication may provide mechanism whereby cells increase the availability of a DNA template in order to increase the level of gene expression. Endoreduplication process may also represent an evolutionary strategy which substitutes for a lack of phylogenetic increase in nuclear DNA, since it is more prevalent in plants harbouring small genomes. It was also suggested that it can be the way to avoid the consequences of mutations which plants accumulate during their life. Additional copies of genes could be a buffer for these mutations. Although endoreduplication is widespread in plants, particularly in angiosperms, its biological significance is still unclear. It is also a matter of question why in tissues/organs of one species endoreduplication occurs and in other does not. Therefore the aim of this study was to compare the intensity of en-doreduplication in different tissues of various species of various taxonomic positions, genome sizes and life span. The analyses of endoreduplication intensity in vegetative and generative plant organs were performed with flow cytometer Partec CCA (Partec GmbH, Münster, Germa-ny). Flow cytometric analyses revealed the occurrence of endopolyploidy in most of the inves-tigated species. However intensity of this process differed between species, organs and devel-opmental stages. The results suggest the role of endoreduplication in facilitating plant growth and development, however more detailed studies are needed. Better understanding of en-doreduplication process in plants could be useful for improving yield and quality of plant products, as endoreduplication seems to be of paramount importance for increasing the bio-mass of agronomic species.


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