Tissue-specific silencing of homoeologs in natural populations of the recent allopolyploid Tragopogon mirus

New Phytol. 2010 Apr;186(1):175-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03205.x.


Recent years have seen rapid advances in our knowledge of the transcriptomic consequences of allopolyploidy, primarily through the study of polyploid crops and model systems. However, few studies have distinguished between homoeologs and between tissues, and still fewer have examined young natural allopolyploid populations of independent origin, whose parental species are still present in the same location. Here, we examined the expression of 13 homoeolog pairs in seven tissues of 10 plants of allotetraploid Tragopogon mirus from two natural populations formed by independent polyploidizations between Tragopogon dubius and Tragopogon porrifolius c. 40 generations ago. We compare these with patterns of expression in the diploid parental species from the same locality. Of the 910 assays in T. mirus, 576 (63%) showed expression of both homoeologs, 63 (7%) showed no expression of either homoeolog, 186 (20%) showed nonexpression of one homoeolog across all tissues of a plant, and 72 (8%) showed non-expression of a homoeolog in a particular tissue within a plant. We found two cases of reciprocal tissue-specific expression between homoeologs, potentially indicative of subfunctionalization. Our study shows that tissue-specific silencing, and even apparent subfunctionalization, can arise rapidly in the early generations of natural allopolyploidy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Diploidy
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Genes, Plant / genetics*
  • Organ Specificity / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Polyploidy*
  • Population Dynamics
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid*
  • Tragopogon / genetics*


  • Plant Proteins