Authors: Zaitlin, David; Pierce, Andrew J.
Publication: Genome
Year: 2010
Genera: Sinningia

The Gesneriaceae (Lamiales) is a family of flowering plants comprising >3000 species of mainly tropical origin, the most familiar of which is the cultivated African violet (Saintpaulia spp.). Species of Gesneriaceae are poorly represented in the lists of taxa sampled for genome size estimation; measurements are available for three species of Ramonda and one each of Haberlea, Saintpaulia, and Streptocarpus, all species of Old World origin. We report here nuclear genome size estimates for 10 species of Sinningia, a neotropical genus largely restricted to Brazil. Flow cytometry of leaf cell nuclei showed that holoploid genome size in Sinningia is very small (approximately two times the size of the Arabidopsis genome), and is small compared to the other six species of Gesneriaceae with genome size estimates. We also documented intraspecific genome size variation of 21%–26% within a group of wild Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern collections. In addition, we analyzed 1210 genome survey sequences from S. speciosa to characterize basic features of the nuclear genome such as guanine–cytosine content, types of repetitive elements, numbers of protein-coding sequences, and sequences unique to S. speciosa. We included several other angiosperm species as genome size standards, one of which was the snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.; Veronicaceae, Lamiales). Multiple measurements on three accessions indicated that the genome size of A. majus is ∼633 × 106 base pairs, which is approximately 40% of the previously published estimate.