Electrophoretic Evidence for Genetic Diploidy in the Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum)

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Science  22 May 1987:
Vol. 236, Issue 4804, pp. 947-949
DOI: 10.1126/science.236.4804.947


Analysis of isozyme variability demonstrates that bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum) has a diploid genetic system and expresses solely disomic inheritance patterns. Electrophoretic data indicate that genetically variable progeny are produced in natural populations after intergametophytic mating rather than by a process involving recombination between duplicated unlinked loci. Although some enzymes are encoded by more than one locus, this has resulted from subcellular compartmentalization of isozymes, and there is no evidence of extensive gene duplication resulting from polyploidy. The conclusions reached in this report differ from those which propose polyploidy as an adaptive mechanism for maintaining genetic variability in Pteridium and other homosporous pteridophytes.