Flow cytometry is used at ILVO for ploidy estimation. The method is very fast and simple. The amount of DNA per nucleus is analysed. The DNA content is correlated with the number of chromosome sets (ploidy number) in a nucleus. In plant breeding, ploidy analysis is used as a routine control in seed propagated crops, after polyploidisation with anti-mitotic agents, and for the characterisation of parent plants and progeny in interploidy breeding, etc.
Flow cytometry is part of the services provided by ILVO to external research groups and to companies. ILVO has two Partec flow cytometers equipped with different light sources and fluorescence detectors. This equipment allows ploidy level estimation as well as more precise genome size measurements, such as to recognize interspecific hybrids. Flow cytometry can be used on almost all types of plants. ILVO has experience on many plant species and tissues such as leaves, fruits, pollen etc.