Cell dedifferentiation was induced in Vicia faba root tissues by removing the whole root meristem (decapitation) and the behaviour of the nuclear DNA in the dedifferentiating cells was studied by means of cytophotometric and autoradiographic analyses. Cytophotometric determination after Feulgen-staining showed that: 1. the vast majority of nuclei in differentiated cells were in the DNA postsynthetic phase, but their Feulgen absorption was lower than that of DNA postsynthetic nuclei (G 2, 4 C) in the meristem; 2. such a Feulgen absorption was detected in certain nuclei after root decapitation; 3. all the mitoses in the dedifferentiating tissues were diploid, fully matching the Feulgen absorption of mitoses in the meristem. After 3H-thymidine ( 3H-T) feeding of the decapitated roots and autoradiography, the following results were obtained: 1. two populations of labeled nuclei, characterized by two different levels of scattered labeling occurred in dedifferentiating tissues, slightly labeled nuclei being much more numerous than heavily labeled nuclei; 2. the percentage of labeled nuclei was much greater than that of DNA presynthetic nuclei in the root tissues; 3. almost all the mitoses were labeled after a 16-hour 3H-T feeding; 4. the percentage of slightly labeled nuclei paralleled that of dedifferentiating cells; 5. the duration of the DNA synthesis phase and that of the gap between completion of DNA synthesis and mitosis differed in heavily and slightly labeled nuclei; 6. all nuclei which entered DNA synthesis also entered mitosis. These results are interpreted to mean that: 1. after decapitation, two different DNA syntheses occur in the dedifferentiating root tissues of V. faba: DNA reduplication in cells which dedifferentiate starting from a DNA presynthetic nuclear condition (heavily labeled nuclei) and extra DNA synthesis in cells which dedifferentiate starting from a DNA postsynthetic nuclear condition (slightly labeled nuclei); 2. extra DNA synthesis is required in these dedifferentiating cells for entry into mitosis.
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