Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) was formed ~7500 years ago by hybridization between B. rapa and B. oleracea, followed by chromosome doubling, a process known as allopolyploidy. Together with more ancient polyploidizations, this conferred an aggregate 72× genome multiplication since the origin of angiosperms and high gene content. We examined the B. napus genome and the consequences of its recent duplication. The constituent An and Cn subgenomes are engaged in subtle structural, functional, and epigenetic cross-talk, with abundant homeologous exchanges. Incipient gene loss and expression divergence have begun. Selection in B. napus oilseed types has accelerated the loss of glucosinolate genes, while preserving expansion of oil biosynthesis genes. These processes provide insights into allopolyploid evolution and its relationship with crop domestication and improvement.
Copyright © 2014, American Association for the Advancement of Science.