A step-by-step protocol for meiotic chromosome counts in flowering plants: A powerful and economical technique revisited.

Journal Article


Counting chromosomes is a fundamental botanical technique, yet it is often intimidating and increasingly sidestepped. Once mastered, the basic protocol can be applied to a broad range of taxa and research questions. It also reveals an aspect of the plant genome that is accessible with only the most basic of resources-access to a microscope with 1000× magnification is the most limiting factor.

Methods and results

Here we provide a detailed protocol for choosing, staining, and squashing angiosperm pollen mother cells. The protocol is supplemented by figures and two demonstration videos.


The protocol we provide will hopefully demystify and reinvigorate a powerful and once commonplace botanical technique that is available to researchers regardless of their location and resources.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Windham, MD; Pryer, KM; Poindexter, DB; Li, F-W; Rothfels, CJ; Beck, JB

Published Date

  • April 23, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 8 / 4

Start / End Page

  • e11342 -

PubMed ID

  • 33224637

Pubmed Central ID

  • 33224637

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2168-0450

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2168-0450

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/aps3.11342


  • eng