Epifluorescent microscopic evidence for maternal inheritance of chloroplast DNA

Nature. 1982 Jul 29;298(5873):481-3. doi: 10.1038/298481a0.


Maternal inheritance of chloroplast genes occurs in the isogamous green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardii. It has been shown using biochemical techniques that the chloroplast DNA of male origin is preferentially lost by 6 h after mating. DNAs in the chloroplast are organized by proteins into about 10 chloroplast nucleoids. Therefore, if chloroplast DNA in zygotes is preferentially destroyed, the disappearance of chloroplast nucleoids from male gametes should be observable during zygote formation by high resolution epifluorescent microscopy. Here we present the first fluorescent microscopic evidence that in C. reinhardii, about eight chloroplast nucleoids from the male parent disappear during the first 40-50 min after mating, while those from the female parent persist and finally fuse together to form one large chloroplast nucleoid.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Fusion
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Chlamydomonas / genetics*
  • Chloroplasts / metabolism*
  • Chloroplasts / ultrastructure
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Extrachromosomal Inheritance*
  • Methylation
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence


  • DNA