Polyploid formation in cotton is not accompanied by rapid genomic changes

Genome. 2001 Jun;44(3):321-30.


Recent work has demonstrated that allopolyploid speciation in plants may be associated with non-Mendelian genomic changes in the early generations following polyploid synthesis. To address the question of whether rapid genomic changes also occur in allopolyploid cotton (Gossypium) species, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis was performed to evaluate nine sets of newly synthesized allotetraploid and allohexaploid plants, their parents, and the selfed progeny from colchicine-doubled synthetics. Using both methylation-sensitive and methylation-insensitive enzymes, the extent of fragment additivity in newly combined genomes was ascertained for a total of approximately 22,000 genomic loci. Fragment additivity was observed in nearly all cases, with the few exceptions most likely reflecting parental heterozygosity or experimental error. In addition, genomic Southern analysis on six sets of synthetic allopolyploids probed with five retrotransposons also revealed complete additivity. Because no alterations were observed using methylation-sensitive isoschizomers, epigenetic changes following polyploid synthesis were also minimal. These indications of genomic additivity and epigenetic stasis during allopolyploid formation provide a contrast to recent evidence from several model plant allopolyploids, most notably wheat and Brassica, where rapid and unexplained genomic changes have been reported. In addition, the data contrast with evidence from repetitive DNAs in Gossypium, some of which are subject to non-Mendelian molecular evolutionary phenomena in extant polyploids. These contrasts indicate polyploid speciation in plants is accompanied by a diverse array of molecular evolutionary phenomena, which will vary among both genomic constituents and taxa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • DNA Fingerprinting / methods
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes / metabolism
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Gossypium / genetics*
  • Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques / methods
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Polyploidy*


  • DNA, Plant
  • DNA Restriction Enzymes