Background: Multiple hybridization events gave rise to pentaploid dogroses which can reproduce sexually despite their uneven ploidy level by the unique canina meiosis. Two homologous chromosome sets are involved in bivalent formation and are transmitted by the haploid pollen grains and the tetraploid egg cells. In addition the egg cells contain three sets of univalent chromosomes which are excluded from recombination. In this study we investigated whether differential behavior of chromosomes as bivalents or univalents is reflected by sequence divergence or transcription intensity between homeologous alleles of two single copy genes (LEAFY, cGAPDH) and one ribosomal DNA locus (nrITS).
Results: We detected a maximum number of four different alleles of all investigated loci in pentaploid dogroses and identified the respective allele with two copies, which is presumably located on bivalent forming chromosomes. For the alleles of the ribosomal DNA locus and cGAPDH only slight, if any, differential transcription was determined, whereas the LEAFY alleles with one copy were found to be significantly stronger expressed than the LEAFY allele with two copies. Moreover, we found for the three marker genes that all alleles have been under similar regimes of purifying selection.
Conclusions: Analyses of both molecular sequence evolution and expression patterns did not support the hypothesis that unique alleles probably located on non-recombining chromosomes are less functional than duplicate alleles presumably located on recombining chromosomes.