Polyploidy (whole-genome duplication) has contributed significantly to angiosperm evolution and diversification. To date, it has been found that most polyploids are the result of multiple formation events, which may contribute to genetic diversity and affect interfertility among polyploid lineages of independent origin. A recently discovered allotetraploid derivative of Mimulus guttatus and M. nasutus, Mimulus sookensis, is found throughout the valleys of western Oregon and Vancouver Island. Here, we analyse the patterns of nucleotide diversity at three chloroplast and six nuclear loci in M. guttatus, M. nasutus and M. sookensis, to gain insight into the formation of M. sookensis. By analysing the patterns of genetic variation seen in the diploid progenitors in comparison with the variation seen in M. sookensis, we are able to show that M. sookensis has recurrently formed. We also observed that most M. sookensis individuals are fixed heterozygotes at all of the nuclear loci examined, suggesting that duplicate gene loss is not extensive in M. sookensis. To assess the possibility that hybridization among M. sookensis has contributed to genetic diversity, we conducted crossing experiments within M. sookensis. We found that M. sookensis of independent origin are highly interfertile, suggesting that crossing barriers do not exist within M. sookensis, and that hybridization among M. sookensis may result in new recombinant genotypes. Together, the data suggest that although recurrent origins may be common, they can contribute to genetic diversity without contributing to reproductive isolation among independently arisen polyploid lineages.
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