Diploid organisms have two complete sets of chromosomes. Polyploidy, often referred to now as whole genome duplication or doubling (WGD), is defined as the presence of three or more complete chromosome sets in an organism. This definition has a long history, tracing to the early 1900s, when researchers first observed the formation of a higher chromosome number via the addition of extra whole chromosome sets present. Polyploidy typically results in instant speciation—the new polyploid may be immediately isolated reproductively from its parent or parents; this process greatly increases biodiversity and provides new genetic material for evolution. In this regard, studies of diverse species have shown that polyploid genomes are highly dynamic with diverse alterations in gene expression, gene content, physiology, and chromosome evolution.
Many reviews of polyploidy are available, both classical and recent. Contributions fundamental to our current understanding of polyploidy include Clausen, et al. 1945; Stebbins 1971; and Grant 1981. More recent review articles on polyploidy are provided in Doyle, et al. 2008 and Wendel 2015. Additionally, a number of books and book chapters provide a synthesis on polyploid research—these include Stebbins 1971, Lewis 1980, Polyploid and Hybrid Genomics, and Polyploidy and Genome Evolution.
Chen, Z. Jeffery, and James A. Birchler, eds. 2013. Polyploid and hybrid genomics. Ames, IA: Wiley-Blackwell.
One of the most recent syntheses of current research on polyploidy.
Clausen, Jens, David D. Keck, and William M. Hiesey. 1945. Experimental studies on the nature of species. Vol. 2, Plant evolution through amphiploidy and autopolyploidy, with examples from the Madiinae. Washington, DC: Carnegie Institute of Washington.
A classic summary of polyploidy and studies of examples from nature.
Doyle, Jeffrey J., Lex E. Flagel, Andrew H. Paterson, et al. 2008. Evolutionary genetics of genome merger and doubling in plants. Annual Review of Genetics 42:443–461.
An important summary of the genetic consequences of polyploidy in plants.
Grant, Vern. 1981. Plant speciation. 2d ed. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.
Chapters of this book focus on hybridization, polyploidy, and frequency in nature.
Lewis, Walter H., ed. 1980. Polyploidy: Biological relevance. Proceedings of the International Conference on Polyploidy: Biological Relevance, held at Washington University, St. Louis, MO, 24–27 May 1979. New York: Plenum.
Chapters of this book represent contributions from a three-day conference on polyploidy representing a superb summary of what was known about polyploidy at that time. This influential work shaped the thinking of an entire generation of researchers interested in polyploidy.
Soltis, Pamela S., and Douglas E. Soltis, eds. 2012. Polyploidy and genome evolution. New York and Berlin: Springer.
Chapters of this book provide a recent review of polyploidy in diverse lineages of organisms as well as genetic consequences of polyploidy.
Stebbins, G. Ledyard. 1971. Chromosomal evolution in higher plants. London: Edward Arnold.
One of the most cited sources for polyploidy. Chapters of this book focus on hybridization, polyploidy, and attributes of polyploids.
Wendel, Jonathan F. 2015. The wondrous cycles of polyploidy in plants. American Journal of Botany 102:1753–1756.
A wonderful perspective on the interplay between polyploidy and subsequent diploidization, and how this repeated process has shaped Angiosperm genomes.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
- Adaptive Radiation
- Ancient DNA
- Behavioral Ecology
- Canalization and Robustness
- Character Displacement
- Cognition, Evolution of
- Constraints, Evolutionary
- Convergent Evolution
- Cooperation and Conflict: Microbes to Humans
- Cooperative Breeding in Insects and Vertebrates
- Cryptic Female Choice
- Darwin, Charles
- Disease Virulence, Evolution of
- Epigenetics and Behavior
- Evidence of Evolution, The
- Evolution and Development: Genes and Mutations Underlying ...
- Evolution, Cultural
- Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance
- Evolution of New Genes
- Evolution of Plant Mating Systems
- Evolution of Specialization
- Evolutionary Biology of Aging
- Evolutionary Biomechanics
- Evolutionary Ecology of Communities
- Experimental Evolution
- Field Studies of Natural Selection
- Founder Effect Speciation
- Frequency-Dependent Selection
- Fungi, Evolution of
- Gene Duplication
- Gene Expression, Evolution of
- Gene Flow
- Genetics, Ecological
- Genome Evolution
- Geographic Variation
- Group Selection
- History of Evolutionary Thought, 1860–1925
- History of Evolutionary Thought before Darwin
- Human Behavioral Ecology
- Human Evolution
- Hybrid Speciation
- Hybrid Zones
- Identifying the Genomic Basis Underlying Phenotypic Variat...
- Inclusive Fitness
- Innovation, Evolutionary
- Kin Selection
- Landscape Genetics
- Landscapes, Adaptive
- Language, Evolution of
- Macroevolutionary Rates
- Male-Male Competition
- Mass Extinction
- Mate Choice
- Medicine, Evolutionary
- Meiotic Drive
- Modern Synthesis, The
- Molecular Clocks
- Molecular Phylogenetics
- Natural Selection in Human Populations
- Natural Selection in the Genome, Detecting
- Neutral Theory
- Niche Construction
- Niche Evolution
- Origin and Early Evolution of Animals
- Origin of Eukaryotes
- Origin of Life, The
- Paradox of Sex
- Parental Care, Evolution of
- Personality Differences, Evolution of
- Phenotypic Plasticity
- Phylogenetic Comparative Methods and Tests of Macroevoluti...
- Phylogenetic Trees, Interpretation of
- Polyploid Speciation
- Population Genetics
- Population Structure
- Psychology, Evolutionary
- Punctuated Equilibria
- Quantitative Genetic Variation and Heritability
- Reproductive Proteins, Evolution of
- Selection, Directional
- Selection, Disruptive
- Selection, Natural
- Selection, Sexual
- Selfish Genes
- Sexual Conflict
- Sexual Selection and Speciation
- Sexual Size Dimorphism
- Speciation Genetics and Genomics
- Speciation, Sympatric
- Species Concepts
- Sperm Competition
- Systems Biology
- Taxonomy and Classification
- Tetrapod Evolution
- Trends, Evolutionary
- Wallace, Alfred Russel