Origin of the Yeast Whole-Genome Duplication

PLoS Biol. 2015 Aug 7;13(8):e1002221. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002221. eCollection 2015 Aug.


Whole-genome duplications (WGDs) are rare evolutionary events with profound consequences. They double an organism's genetic content, immediately creating a reproductive barrier between it and its ancestors and providing raw material for the divergence of gene functions between paralogs. Almost all eukaryotic genome sequences bear evidence of ancient WGDs, but the causes of these events and the timing of intermediate steps have been difficult to discern. One of the best-characterized WGDs occurred in the lineage leading to the baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Marcet-Houben and Gabaldón now show that, rather than simply doubling the DNA of a single ancestor, the yeast WGD likely involved mating between two different ancestral species followed by a doubling of the genome to restore fertility.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Duplication*
  • Genome, Fungal*
  • Hybridization, Genetic*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*

Grant support

The author received no specific funding for this work.