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Title: “Genetic diversity of Ontario ferns”

Researcher(s): Jillian Bainard, Thomas Henry and Dr. Steven Newmaster, Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph


These researchers are heading an research initiative known as the “Ontario Fern Diversity” project which began in 2010.  The goal of this project is to understand the genetic diversity of ferns since less than 1% of the ferns on earth have DNA barcodes or estimates of genome size and nothing is known about fern endopolyploidy (an increase in the number of chromosome sets in a cell caused by replication without cell division).

The researchers will collect several fronds from particular fern species on rare property including Maidenhair Spleenwort, Rock Polypody, Fragile Fern and Smooth Cliff Brake. They will conduct DNA barcoding, measure genome size and make estimates of endopolyploidy. The data will help provide a clearer picture of fern species taxonomy in Ontario.