Size matters in Triticeae polyploids: larger genomes have higher remodeling

Miguel Bento, J Perry Gustafson, Wanda Viegas, Manuela Silva
Genome Génome / Conseil National de Recherches Canada 2011, 54 (3): 175-83
Polyploidization is one of the major driving forces in plant evolution and is extremely relevant to speciation and diversity creation. Polyploidization leads to a myriad of genetic and epigenetic alterations that ultimately generate plants and species with increased genome plasticity. Polyploids are the result of the fusion of two or more genomes into the same nucleus and can be classified as allopolyploids (different genomes) or autopolyploids (same genome). Triticeae synthetic allopolyploid species are excellent models to study polyploids evolution, particularly the wheat-rye hybrid triticale, which includes various ploidy levels and genome combinations. In this review, we reanalyze data concerning genomic analysis of octoploid and hexaploid triticale and different synthetic wheat hybrids, in comparison with other polyploid species. This analysis reveals high levels of genomic restructuring events in triticale and wheat hybrids, namely major parental band disappearance and the appearance of novel bands. Furthermore, the data shows that restructuring depends on parental genomes, ploidy level, and sequence type (repetitive, low copy, and (or) coding); is markedly different after wide hybridization or genome doubling; and affects preferentially the larger parental genome. The shared role of genetic and epigenetic modifications in parental genome size homogenization, diploidization establishment, and stabilization of polyploid species is discussed.

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