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Journal of Applied Genetics 47(2), 2006, pp. 99-108

Effects of heavy metal pollution on genetic variation and cytological disturbances in the Pinus sylvestris L. population

Wieslaw Prus-Glowacki, Ewa Chudzinska, Aleksandra Wojnicka-Poltorak, Leon Kozacki, Katarzyna Fagiewicz


Abstract: This isoenzymatic and cytogenetic study has shown significant differences in genetic composition between two groups of Pinus sylvestris trees: tolerant and sensitive to heavy metal pollution. Total and mean numbers of alleles and genotypes per locus were higher in the pollution-sensitive group of trees, but heterozygosity (Ho) was lower in this group. Fixation index (F) indicates that trees tolerant for pollution were in the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, while the sensitive group had a significant excess of homozygosity. Cytological analyses demonstrated numerous aberrations of chromosomes in meristematic root tissue of seedlings developed from seeds collected from trees in the polluted area. The aberrations included chromosome bridges and stickiness, laggards, retarded and forward chromosomes, and their fragments. The mitotic index was markedly lower in this group of seedlings, as compared to the control. Both isoenzymatic and cytological analyses showed a significant influence of heavy metal ions on the genetic structure of the Pinus sylvestris population.

Key words: chromosome aberrations, genetic structure, heavy metals, isoenzymes, Pinus sylvestris, pollution.

Correspondence: W. Prus-Glowacki, Department of Genetics, Institute of Experimental Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Miedzychodzka 5, 60-371 Poznan, Poland; prusw@amu.edu.pl

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