Evolutionary of Pollen Ornamentation in Ornamental Crabapples
Pollen ornamentation patterns are important in the study of plant genetic evolution and systematic taxonomy. However, they are normally difficult to quantify. Based on observations of pollen exine ornamentation characteristics of 128 flowering crabapple germplasms (44 natural species and 84 cultivars), three qualitative variables with binary properties (Xi: regularity of pollen exine ornamentation; Yi: scope of ornamentation arrangement regularity; Zi: ornamentation arrangement patterns) were extracted to establish a binary three-dimensional data matrix (Xi Yi Zi) and the matrix data were converted to decimal data through weight assignment, which facilitated the unification of qualitative analysis and quantitative analysis. The result indicates that from species population to cultivar population and from parent population to cultivar population, the exine ornamentation of all three dimensions present the evolutionary trend of regular → irregular, wholly regular → partially regular, and single pattern → multiple patterns. Regarding the evolutionary degree, the regularity of ornamentation was significantly lower in both the cultivar population and progeny population, with a degree of decrease 0.82–1.27 times that of the regularity range of R-type ornamentation. In addition, the evolutionary degree significantly increased along Xi→Yi→Zi. The result also has certain reference values for defining the taxonomic status of Malus species.
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