Figure 13.7 The Central Dogma of Molecular Genetics. The flow of information in a cell proceeds from the DNA in the nucleus via mRNA to the cytoplasm, where the mRNA is translated into proteins.
chromosomes or, less commonly, is missing one or more chromosomes. For example, the cells in a carrot plant typically contain nine pairs of homologous chromosomes, for a total of 18 chromosomes. An aneuploid carrot plant would have 19 chromosomes if it had an extra copy of one chromosome or 17 chromosomes if it was missing one of a pair. As you would expect, aneuploid plants generally differ in appearance from their normal counterparts due to the effects of extra or missing doses of many genes. Geneticists use ane-uploids to determine the chromosomal locations of genes.
Occasionally, meiosis may completely fail to halve the chromosome number, producing gametes with the somatic (body cell) chromosome number. These are called 2n gametes. If these gametes are involved in fertilization, then the resulting offspring are polyploid. A polyploid plant has at least one complete extra set of chromosomes. Using the carrot example, a polyploid carrot could have 27 chromosomes (three sets of nine chromosomes). Polyploid plants are often larger and higher-yielding than their diploid counterparts. For this reason, many of our cultivated plants are polyploid. These include potato, cotton, peanut, wheat, oats, strawberry, and sugar cane. (Fig. 13.8). The larger and longer-lasting flowers of polyploids make them attractive as ornamental plants; marigold, snapdragon, lily, and hyacinth are among the numerous examples of ornamental polyploids. In addition, triploid plants (polyploids containing three copies of each chromosome) are sterile and do not produce seeds. Seedless fruits, such as bananas and watermelons, are triploid.
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