Pat Heslop-Harrison: Lecture to University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia December 2013
Some DNA sequences are recognizable in all organisms and originated with the start of life. Others are unique to a single species. Some sequences are present in single copies in genomes, while others are present as millions of copies. The total amount of DNA in cells of an advanced eukaryotic species can vary over three orders of magnitude, and chromosome number can vary similarly. How can such huge variations be accommodated within the constraints of organism growth, development and reproduction? What are the evolutionary implications of these huge variations? How can we use the information to understand plant evolution, cytogenetics, genetics and epigenetics? What are the implications for future evolution, biodiversity and responses of plants during plant breeding or climate change?