Mechanisms of genomic rearrangements and gene expression changes in plant polyploids

Bioessays. 2006 Mar;28(3):240-52. doi: 10.1002/bies.20374.


Polyploidy is produced by multiplication of a single genome (autopolyploid) or combination of two or more divergent genomes (allopolyploid). The available data obtained from the study of synthetic (newly created or human-made) plant allopolyploids have documented dynamic and stochastic changes in genomic organization and gene expression, including sequence elimination, inter-chromosomal exchanges, cytosine methylation, gene repression, novel activation, genetic dominance, subfunctionalization and transposon activation. The underlying mechanisms for these alterations are poorly understood. To promote a better understanding of genomic and gene expression changes in polyploidy, we briefly review origins and forms of polyploidy and summarize what has been learned from genome-wide gene expression analyses in newly synthesized auto-and allopolyploids. We show transcriptome divergence between the progenitors and in the newly formed allopolyploids. We propose models for transcriptional regulation, chromatin modification and RNA-mediated pathways in establishing locus-specific expression of orthologous and homoeologous genes during allopolyploid formation and evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes, Plant
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression*
  • Gene Rearrangement*
  • Humans
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Polyploidy*