Evolutionary significance of whole-genome duplication

C. L. McGrath, M. Lynch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

38 Scopus citations


Whole-genome duplication (WGD) appears to be a widespread phenomenon, occurring in diverse taxa including many of the model organisms used in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology. It is therefore essential to understand the potential evolutionary consequences for individual duplicated genes, as well as for the lineage as a whole. For example, duplicate genes may undergo pseudogenization or may be maintained due to neofunctionalization, subfunctionalization, or selection for increased dosage or dosage balance. Duplicates created via WGD are maintained at higher rates than single-gene duplicates, perhaps due to dosage-balance constraints. Duplicate-gene maintenance may lead to heterodimerization of an existing homodimer or to the divergence of an entire duplicated network or pathway. Allopolyploids and autopolyploids are likely to undergo different evolutionary pressures due to increased divergence between allopolyploid paralogs and an increased prevalence of multivalent formation at meiosis in autopolyploids. Perhaps most importantly, duplicate-gene loss following a WGD may significantly increase the rate of reproductive isolation between geographically isolated subpopulations and may therefore temporarily increase the speciation rate within polyploid lineages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPolyploidy and Genome Evolution
PublisherSpringer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783642314421
ISBN (Print)3642314414, 9783642314414
StatePublished - Nov 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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