Polyploidy: A Biological Force From Cells to Ecosystems

Trends Cell Biol. 2020 Sep;30(9):688-694. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2020.06.006. Epub 2020 Jul 6.


Polyploidy, resulting from the duplication of the entire genome of an organism or cell, greatly affects genes and genomes, cells and tissues, organisms, and even entire ecosystems. Despite the wide-reaching importance of polyploidy, communication across disciplinary boundaries to identify common themes at different scales has been almost nonexistent. However, a critical need remains to understand commonalities that derive from shared polyploid cellular processes across organismal diversity, levels of biological organization, and fields of inquiry - from biodiversity and biocomplexity to medicine and agriculture. Here, we review the current understanding of polyploidy at the organismal and suborganismal levels, identify shared research themes and elements, and propose new directions to integrate research on polyploidy toward confronting interdisciplinary grand challenges of the 21st century.

Keywords: cellular polyploidy; endoreplication; organismal polyploidy; polyploidy; whole-genome duplication.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Ecosystem*
  • Genome
  • Polyploidy*
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics