J Syst Evol ›› 2018, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (4): 273-282.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12310

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Genome size variation and evolution in the grape family Vitaceae

Zhao-Fu Chu1, Jun Wen2, Yong-Ping Yang3, Ze-Long Nie1,3, and Ying Meng1,3*   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Plant Resources Conservation and Utilization, College of Biology and Environmental Sciences, Jishou University, Jishou, Hunan 416000, China 
    2Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, MRC 166, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, 20013-7012, USA
    3Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
  • Received:2017-12-13 Accepted:2018-02-28 Published:2018-07-10


Genome size variation is of fundamental biological importance and has been a longstanding puzzle in evolutionary biology. In the present study, the genome size of 61 accessions corresponding to 11 genera and 50 species of Vitaceae and Leeaceae is determined using flow cytometry. Phylogenetically based statistical analyses were used to infer ancestral character reconstructions of nuclear DNA contents. The DNA 1C‐values of 38 species are reported for the first time, with the largest genome (Cyphostemma humile (N. E. Br.) Desc. ex Wild & R. B. Drumm, 1C = 3.25 pg) roughly 10.48‐fold larger than the smallest (Vitis vulpina L., 1C = 0.31 pg). The large genomes are restricted to the tribe Cayratieae, and most other extant species in the family possess relatively small genomes. Ancestral genome size reconstruction revealed that the most recent common ancestor for the family had a relatively small genome (1C = 0.85 pg). Genome evolution in Vitaceae has been characterized by a trend towards genome size reduction, with just one episode of apparent DNA accumulation in the Cayratieae lineage. Such contrasting patterns of genome size evolution probably resulted from transposable elements and chromosome rearrangements, while neopolyploidization seems to contribute to recent genome increase in some species at the tips in the family tree.

Key words: C-value, flow cytometry, genome expansion, nuclear DNA content, Vitaceae.