Unravelling the direct consequences of polyploidization to reveal its evolutionary significance and effects on reproductive fitness, Münzbergová studies diploid offspring of synthetic tetraploid mothers in Vicia cracca (Fabaceae) to assess the effects of colchicine application in the maternal generation.
Hitherto there has been a prevailing assumption that the effects of the substances used to create synthetic polyploids disappear in the second generation, with little examination of between population variation in these effects. Seed size and stomata size were primarily affected by cytotype, while plant performance differed between natural and synthetic polyploids. Increased size and fitness of offspring results in the second generation of colchicine-treated plants, independently of ploidy levels, with the specific patterns varying among populations.
This paper is part of the Annals of Botany Special Issue on Polyploidy in Ecology and Evolution. It will be free access until October 2017, then available only to subscribers until August 2018 when it will be free access again.