Towards natural polyploid model organisms


Richard J. A. Buggs, Fax: 352 846 2154, E-mail:


Populations of natural allopolyploids with available and well-developed genomic resources are currently hard to come by. These are needed because whole genome duplication and hybridization — both combined in allopolyploids — are significant processes in evolution, especially the evolution of plants. The new characterization of a naturally occurring allopolyploid in the genus Mimulus by Sweigart et al. in this issue of Molecular Ecology is therefore to be welcomed. Mimulus is rapidly emerging as a model system for evolutionary functional genomics. Sequences of the whole genome and 200 000 expressed sequence tags of diploid M. guttatus, a putative parent of the polyploid described in this issue, will soon be available. These will facilitate investigation of the fates of genes duplicated by whole genome duplication, and their effects on morphology, mating system and ecology in natural populations.