Transition from haploidy to diploidy

Nature. 1991 May 23;351(6324):315-7. doi: 10.1038/351315a0.


As a direct consequence of sex, organisms undergo a haploid and a diploid stage during their life cycle. Although the relative duration of haploid and diploid phases varies greatly among taxa, the diploid phase is more conspicuous in all higher organisms. Therefore it is widely believed that diploidy offers more evolutionary possibilities and is thus nearly always selected for. We have now performed computer simulations to investigate one possible advantage of diploidy, that is, protection against the expression of deleterious mutations. Instead of comparing isolated haploid and diploid populations, we considered interbreeding haploids and diploids. Diploids invaded the population only when the dominance degree of a single deleterious mutation was smaller than about 1/2, and the condition allowing diploidy to invade depended on how harmful the mutation was.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Diploidy*
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Genetics, Population
  • Genotype
  • Haploidy*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation
  • Selection, Genetic