Academic journal article Science and Children

Polyploidy: Not Always Double Good

Academic journal article Science and Children

Polyploidy: Not Always Double Good

Article excerpt

A recent University of Florida study shows genomes of a recently formed plant species to be highly unstable, a phenomenon that may have far-reaching evolutionary consequences.

Published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study is the first to document chromosomal variation in natural populations of a recently formed plant species following whole genome doubling, or polyploidy. Because many agricultural crops are young polyploids, the data may be used to develop plants with higher fertility and yields. Polyploid crops include wheat, corn, coffee, apples, broccoli, and some rice species.

"It could be occurring in other polyploids, but this sort of methodology just hasn't been applied to many plant species," said study coauthor Pam Soltis, distinguished professor and curator of molecular systematics and evolutionary genetics at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus. "So it may be that lots of polyploids--including our crops--may not be perfect additive combinations of the two parents, but instead have more chromosomes from one parent or the other."

Researchers analyzed about 70 Tragopogon miscellus plants, a species in the daisy family that originated in the northwestern United States about 80 years ago. The new species formed naturally when two plants introduced from Europe mated to produce a hybrid offspring, and hybridization was followed by polyploidy. …

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