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Am J Bot. 2009 Jan;96(1):336-48. doi: 10.3732/ajb.0800079.

Polyploidy and angiosperm diversification.

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Department of Botany, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611 USA.


Polyploidy has long been recognized as a major force in angiosperm evolution. Recent genomic investigations not only indicate that polyploidy is ubiquitous among angiosperms, but also suggest several ancient genome-doubling events. These include ancient whole genome duplication (WGD) events in basal angiosperm lineages, as well as a proposed paleohexaploid event that may have occurred close to the eudicot divergence. However, there is currently no evidence for WGD in Amborella, the putative sister species to other extant angiosperms. The question is no longer "What proportion of angiosperms are polyploid?", but "How many episodes of polyploidy characterize any given lineage?" New algorithms provide promise that ancestral genomes can be reconstructed for deep divergences (e.g., it may be possible to reconstruct the ancestral eudicot or even the ancestral angiosperm genome). Comparisons of diversification rates suggest that genome doubling may have led to a dramatic increase in species richness in several angiosperm lineages, including Poaceae, Solanaceae, Fabaceae, and Brassicaceae. However, additional genomic studies are needed to pinpoint the exact phylogenetic placement of the ancient polyploidy events within these lineages and to determine when novel genes resulting from polyploidy have enabled adaptive radiations.

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