Rarely successful polyploids and their legacy in plant genomes

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2012 Apr;15(2):140-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2012.03.010. Epub 2012 Apr 3.


Polyploidy, or whole genome duplication, is recognized as an important feature of eukaryotic genome evolution. Among eukaryotes, polyploidy has probably had the largest evolutionary impact on vascular plants where many contemporary species are of recent polyploid origin. Genomic analyses have uncovered evidence of at least one round of polyploidy in the ancestry of most plants, fueling speculation that genome duplications lead to increases in net diversity. In spite of the frequency of ancient polyploidy, recent analyses have found that recently formed polyploid species have higher extinction rates than their diploid relatives. These results suggest that despite leaving a substantial legacy in plant genomes, only rare polyploids survive over the long term and most are evolutionary dead-ends.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diploidy
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Duplication / genetics
  • Genome, Plant / genetics*
  • Polyploidy*