Our knowledge of cytological data published on members of the family Gesneriaceae is summarized and critically evaluated in the light of current taxonomic treatments and phylogenetic hypotheses. There are about 1000 published chromosome counts, covering 56% of the genera but only 18% of the species. In particular the New World tribes Beslerieae and Napeantheae and the Old World tribe Didymocarpeae are underexplored at generic level. In Gesneriaceae chromosome data are a valuable source of taxonomic characters. From our current knowledge of the phylogenetic relationships in the family we know that basic chromosome numbers in the New World subfamily Gesnerioideae appear to be rather conserved, but that a more complex pattern of genome evolution seems to be present among the Old World tribes. Both polyploidy and dysploid changes have played a significant role in the evolution of the family. However, the number of species for which both cytological and molecular data are available is at present too low to reach firm conclusions on ancestral basic chromosome numbers, particularly for the Old World group. To facilitate wider access to cytological data on the Gesneriaceae, a website has been developed (http://www.rbge.org.uk/rbge/web/search/index.jsp), which is introduced in this paper.
A synopsis of cytological studies in Gesneriaceae
Publication: Edinburgh Journal of Botany
Genera: Many Genera