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     Polyploidy as a chromosomal component of stochastic noise: variable scalar multiples of the diploid chromosome complement in the invertebrate species Girardia schubarti from Brazil

     Chromosome stoichiometry, a form of genetic plasticity, specifically refers to variation in the standard diploid genomic composition of an individual or species. In the present work, freshwater planarians (Girardia schubarti) were analyzed to recognize variations in chromosomal stoichiometry especially of complete ploidal change between specimens, within specimens and between cells within specimens and any relations they might have with selected components of phenotypic plasticity. Homoploid polyploids for the group reached rational scalar multiples (e.g. tetraploids) or irrational scalar multiples (e.g. triploids). Karyotypic mosaics emerged where individual cells presented polyploid multiples in arithmetic and geometric progressions. Ploidal multiplicity, a chromosomal component of stochastic noise, had positive phenotypic effects (increased dimensions) on morphologic criteria of body length, body width and dorsal surface reflecting a significant genotypic plasticity (GP) and robust phenotypic plasticity (PP). Variable but significant association of genotypic plasticity with robust phenotypic variance suggests kinetics of phenotypic homeostasis that is species-specific permitting phenotypic adaptability to environmental variables by means of GP. That association is diminished, deactivated or lost in more advanced and more complex organisms.
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