Triangle of U

The "triangle of U" diagram, showing the genetic relationships between six species of the genus Brassica. Chromosomes from each of the genomes A, B and C are represented by different colours.

The triangle of U is a theory about the evolution and relationships between members of the plant genus Brassica. The theory states that the genomes of three ancestral species of Brassica combined to create three of the common modern vegetables and oilseed crop species.[1] It has since been confirmed by studies of DNA and proteins.

The theory was first published in 1935 by Woo Jang-choon (Hangeul: 우장춘),[2] a Korean-Japanese botanist who was working in Japan (where his name was Japanized as "Nagaharu U", the Japanese reading of his name).[3] Woo made synthetic hybrids between the diploid and tetraploid species and examined how the chromosomes paired in the resulting triploids.


The triangle of U is illustrated by the triangular diagram on the right. It shows how three of the Brassica species were derived from three ancestral genomes, denoted by the letters AA, BB, or CC. Alone, each of these diploid genomes produces a common Brassica species. The letter n denotes the number of chromosomes in each genome, and is the number found in the pollen or ovule. For example, Brassica rapa has an A n=10 (alternatively AA 2n=20) designation. That means each somatic cell of the plant contains two complete genome copies (diploid) and each genome has ten chromosomes. Thus, each cell will contain 20 chromosomes; since this is the diploid number, it is written as 2n = 2x = 20.

These three species exist as separate species, but because they are closely related, it was possible for them to interbreed. Unfortunately inbreeding within the species does not produce genomes that are resistant to unregulated contamination. This interspecific breeding allowed for the creation of three new species of tetraploid Brassica. Because they are derived from the genomes of two different species, these hybrid plants are said to be allotetraploid (contain four genomes, derived from two different ancestral species). (More specifically, they are amphidiploid, i.e., containing one diploid genome from each of the two different Brassica species). Data from molecular studies indicate the three diploid species are themselves paleopolyploids.[4]

See also



  1. Jules, Janick (2009). Plant Breeding Reviews. 31. Wiley. p. 56. ISBN 978-0-470-38762-7.
  2. Nagaharu U (1935). "Genome analysis in Brassica with special reference to the experimental formation of B. napus and peculiar mode of fertilization". Japan. J. Bot. 7: 389–452.
  3. "인터넷 과학신문 사이언스 타임즈" (in Korean). Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
  4. Martin A. Lysak; Kwok Cheung; Michaela Kitschke & Petr Bu (October 2007). "Ancestral Chromosomal Blocks Are Triplicated in Brassiceae Species with Varying Chromosome Number and Genome Size" (PDF). Plant Physiology. 1oes (2): 402–10. doi:10.1104/pp.107.104380. PMC 2048728Freely accessible. PMID 17720758. Retrieved 2010-08-22.


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