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In order to evaluate the utility of isozyme number for estimating ploidal level in ancient polyploid (paleopolyploid) plant species, isozyme number was determined for species of the putatively paleopolyploid genus Helianthus with n = 17, and compared with those of a species of Heliomeris with n = 8. Electrophoretic examination of 13 enzymes revealed the presence of nine duplicated isozymes in Helianthus annuus and Helianthus bolanderi and six duplicated isozymes in Heliomeris multiflora. Thus, there is little difference in isozyme number between ploidal levels. It is suggested that the lack of strong concordance between isozyme number and ploidal level may be due to gene silencing in Helianthus and the presence of gene duplications not resulting from polyploidy in both taxa.

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© 1989 Loren H. Rieseberg, Douglas E. Soltis

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