Each species is characterized by a specific set of chromosomes, which is described as the chromosome portrait or karyotype. In general, such a karyotype is the same for all individuals in the population. An exception to that rule has recently been found in the orchid Erycina pusilla, which has been reported to have two cytotypes with chromosome numbers of 2n = 10 and 2n = 12. Here, we examined the karyotypes of the two cytotypes and found differences in arm ratios and heterochromatin patterns as well as in the presence of satellite chromosomes and in the number and location of rDNA and telomeric repeat sites. These differences are extensive and would have required multiple chromosome rearrangements to generate the differences between the two karyotypes. We also found that F1 hybrids between the parents with the two different chromosome numbers resulted in sterile offspring, in accordance with our previous findings. The combination of hybrid sterility and extensively rearranged chromosomes supports the hypothesis that these two reported cytotypes are, in fact, two different species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science