Russian Journal of Genetics

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 278–294 | Cite as

Genetic Consequences of Interspecific Hybridization, Its Role in Speciation and Phenotypic Diversity of Plants

  • A. V. RodionovEmail author
  • A. V. Amosova
  • E. A. Belyakov
  • P. M. Zhurbenko
  • Yu. V. Mikhailova
  • E. O. Punina
  • V. S. Shneyer
  • I. G. Loskutov
  • O. V. Muravenko


The review focuses on the genetic consequences of interspecific hybridization and discusses its role in speciation and increasing the genetic diversity of plants, including the diversity of species and varieties of cultivated crops and garden plants. The combination of two or more genomes of different origin in the first-generation hybrids is usually accompanied by a phenomenon referred to as genomic shock, which results in different genetic and epigenetic changes. As a result, a material appears which is unique in providing multiple variants for natural selection of organisms, in different degrees adapted to new environmental conditions. In isolated plant populations with various destabilized genomes of hybrid origin under the influence of natural selection and due to genetic drift, gene and chromosomal differences will accumulate, triggering new reproductive isolating mechanisms that increase genetic isolation of a new race or species. Progressive establishment of genome stabilization at the eupolyploid stage and subsequent repeated genome and karyotype diploidization facilitate the retention of selected new genomic and epigenomic combinations. It seems likely that the evolutionary history of all agricultural crops and garden plant varieties, as well as of many invasive alien species and the components of adventive flora, was marked by interspecific crossings purposefully carried out by breeders during the creation of modern varieties and crossings between previously geographically isolated plants that were unintentionally united in apothecary and botanical gardens, in fields and backyards, and on disturbed lands around settlements. At the same time, phenotypic and genetic diversity of cultivars not only results from the combination of different alleles that already existed in the genomes of the parental species but also is a consequence of the appearance in the first-generation hybrids of new genomic and epigenomic variants that are direct or distant effects of post-hybridization genomic shock, the creative role of which we would like to emphasize.


evolution interspecific hybridization cryptic aneuploidy genome and karyotype evolution transposons transcriptome proteome metabolome 



We thank I.N. Golubovskaya for valuable comments provided in reading the first version of the paper. Some of the studies described in the paper were carried out using the equipment of the Cellular and Molecular Technologies for Studying Plants and Fungi Center for Collective Use of the Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg.

This study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant nos. 17-00-00340 KOMFI (17-00-00336, 17-00-00337, 17-00-00340), 18-04-01040, 18-34-00257).


The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies involving animals or human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. V. Rodionov
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • A. V. Amosova
    • 3
  • E. A. Belyakov
    • 4
  • P. M. Zhurbenko
    • 1
  • Yu. V. Mikhailova
    • 1
    • 2
  • E. O. Punina
    • 1
  • V. S. Shneyer
    • 1
  • I. G. Loskutov
    • 2
    • 5
  • O. V. Muravenko
    • 3
  1. 1.Komarov Botanical Institute, Russian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia
  2. 2.Department of Cytology and Histology, St. Petersburg State UniversitySt. PetersburgRussia
  3. 3.Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  4. 4.Papanin Institute for Biology of Inland Waters, Russian Academy of SciencesBorokRussia
  5. 5.Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Genetic ResourcesSt. PetersburgRussia

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