From The Polyploidy Portal

Allopolyploidy in Genetics Education

Allopolyploid organisms combine the complete genetic information of two different species in their genome. While examples for viable offspring from the hybridization of different species in animals are rare, allopolyploidization in plants is a common event and can lead to vigorous offspring and many crop plants today are allopolyploid. Despite the importance of allopolyploids in agriculture the time allotted to teach the biology of polyploidy in undergraduate genetics courses is minimal. An experimental system in Arabidopsis has been developed to study physiological, genetic and epigenetic effects of allopolyploidization. This paper is intended to (1) highlight the importance of allopolyploidy in the field of plant genetics and, (2), suggest laboratory exercises using the Arabidopsis system to illustrate how hybridization of different species may result in genomic rearrangements, hybrid instability, reproductive isolation, and adaptation to the union of the two parental genomes.


A Madlung, JC Pires, C Josefson, TC Osborn, and L Comai. In Preparation. Allopolyploidy in Genetics Education: Tracking genetic, genomic and phenotypic changes in newly synthesized allotetraploids.

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