I have recently been getting more interested in amateur botany, and have some background in genetics and genomics (PhD+). I have used standard light and confocal microscopes but don't have much expertise in microscopy.

I often find myself wondering what the ploidy is of some plant that I'm looking at, as I know that this is a major life history feature and genetic variant in wild plants.

I was curious whether a cheap little scope like a foldscope would be an adequate microscopy instrument for looking at the cytogenetics of a (probably rather crudely prepared) plant sample, assuming that I can come up with a suitable home protocol. (I don't currently have access to lab space.)

I have found this question, but it doesn't really explain much about the required parameters for cytogenetic microscopy.


1) What microscopy parameters need to be satisfied to do cytogenetics?

2) Does a foldscope meet them?

3) If not a foldscope, what other cheapo scope would work?

  • $\begingroup$ Foldscope has resolution of two microns, not enough for this purpose. Sorry no extra refs. $\endgroup$ – Polypipe Wrangler Aug 23 '20 at 2:42
  • $\begingroup$ @PolypipeWrangler Can you comment on why? E.g. I found this: "...the size of an average condensed mitotic chromosome, which is about 6 by 0.7 microns..." That is in the same range, which might mean it's either easy, hard, or impossible, but I don't know because I don't have the background. To reiterate, what are the parameters necessary for the task? $\endgroup$ – Maximilian Press Aug 23 '20 at 16:46

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