Treatment of Vicia faba lateral roots with a range of concentrations of 5-aminouracil (5-AU) indicate that cells are stopped at a particular point in interphase. The timing of the fall in mitotic index suggests that cells are held at the S - G2 transition. When cells are held at this point, treatments with 5-AU can be used to estimate the duration of G2 + mitosis/2 of proliferating cells. Treatment with 5-AU can also be used to demonstrate the presence of subpopulations of dividing cells that differ in their G2 duration. Using this method, 5-AU-induced inhibition, we have confirmed that in V. faba lateral roots there are two populations of dividing cells: (a) a fast-dividing population, which makes up ∼85% of the proliferating cell population and has a G2 + mitosis/2 duration of 3.3 hr, and (b) a slow-dividing population, which makes up ∼15% of dividing cells and has a G2 duration in excess of 12 hr. These estimates are similar to those obtained from percentage labeled mitosis (PLM) curves after incorporation of thymidine-3H.

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