Dynamics of the Nuclear Complement of Giant Cells Induced by Meloidogyne incognita

J. L. Starr


The total numbers of nuclei in giant cells induced by Meloidogyne incognita in pea, lettuce, tomato, and broad bean were determined. Mature giant cells from pea had the most nuclei per giant cell with a mean of 59 ± 23, lettuce had the fewest with 26 ± 16, and tomato and broad bean were intermediate. The rate of increase in numbers of nuclei for all plant species was greatest during the first 7 days after inoculation. No mitotic activity was observed in giant cells associated with adult nematodes. Number of nuclei per giant cell doubled each day during the period of greatest mitotic activity, but number of total chromosomes per giant cell increased 20-fold per day at the same time. The hypothesis is presented that factor(s) responsible for the polyploid, mulfinucleate condition characteristic of giant cells may be different from factor(s) responsible for aneuploid numbers of chromosome per nucleus or for nuclear aberrations such as the presence of linked nuclei. Key words: broad bean, chromosomes, giant cell, Lactuca sativa, lettuce, Lycopersicon esculentum, Meloidogyne incognita, nematode, nucleus, Pisum sativum, root-knot nematode, tomato, Vicia faba.

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