Genotype-specific changes associated to early synthesis of autotetraploids in wild potato species
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Polyploidy is an important factor in plant evolution that may trigger drastic genome reorganization and phenotypic differentiation. In the last decade, extensive studies have been carried to understand the consequences of allopolyploidization, where the effects of ploidy change may be confounded by interspecific hybridization. By contrast, less is known on autopolyploidization, which only involves doubling of homologous chromosomes. This study was undertaken to assess leaf anatomical modifications and gene expression changes occurring after doubling the somatic chromosome complement of diploid (2n = 2x = 24) potato species Solanum commersonii Dunal and S. bulbocastanum Dunal. Polyploidization did not induce qualitative changes in leaf structure and, for several leaf traits, anatomic modifications were stochastic. In addition, in both species a diploid superiority was generally observed, suggesting the occurrence of a high-ploidy syndrome. Expression change study was carried out on eight important cell cycle-regulatory genes in plant. It revealed a strong alteration of the expression patterns in the 4x genotypes with respect to the 2x parents. Changes often exceed the twofold, with no consistent trend towards up- or down regulation when comparing 2x vis-à-vis 4x. We discuss the possible relevance of epigenetic changes in controlling the expression of duplicated genes.
KeywordsChromosome doubling Morpho-anatomical traits Solanum commersonii Solanum bulbocastanum Cell cycle-regulatory genes
This research was carried out in the frame of the PRIN project “Effects of the ploidy level on gene expression and genome structure in alfalfa and potato” funded by MiUR.
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