Polyploidization events have occurred during the evolution of many fungi, plant, and animal species and are thought to contribute to speciation and tumorigenesis, however little is known about how ploidy level contributes to adaptation at the molecular level. Here we integrate whole genome sequencing, RNA expression analysis, and relative fitness of ∼100 evolved clones at three ploidy levels. Independent haploid, diploid, and tetraploid populations were grown in a low carbon environment for 250 generations. We demonstrate that the key adaptive mutation in the evolved clones is predicted by a gene expression signature of just five genes. All of the adaptive mutations identified encompass a narrow set of genes, however the tetraploid clones gain a broader spectrum of adaptive mutations than haploid or diploid clones. While many of the adaptive mutations occur in genes that encode proteins with known roles in glucose sensing and transport, we discover mutations in genes with no canonical role in carbon utilization (IPT1 and MOT3), as well as identify novel dominant mutations in glucose signal transducers thought to only accumulate recessive mutations in carbon limited environments (MTH1 and RGT1). We conclude that polyploid cells explore more genotypic and phenotypic space than lower ploidy cells. Our study provides strong evidence for the beneficial role of polyploidization events that occur during the evolution of many species and during tumorigenesis.
Keywords: adaptive evolution; experimental evolution; expression data; genomics; polyploidy; yeast.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.