Transcriptomic changes following recent natural hybridization and allopolyploidy in the salt marsh species Spartina × townsendii and Spartina anglica (Poaceae)


Author for correspondence:
Malika Ainouche
Tel: +33(0)223235111


  • Allopolyploidy results from two events: the merger of divergent genomes and genome duplication. Both events have important functional consequences for the evolution and adaptation of newly formed allopolyploid species. In spite of the significant progress made in recent years, few studies have decoupled the effects of hybridization from genome duplication in the observed patterns of expression changes accompanying allopolyploidy in natural conditions.
  • We used Agilent rice oligomicroarrays to explore gene expression changes following allopolyploidy in Spartina that includes a classic example of recent allopolyploid speciation: S. anglica formed during the 19th century following genome duplication of the hybrid S. × townsendii.
  • Our data indicate important, but different, effects of hybridization and genome duplication in the expression patterns of the hybrid and allopolyploid. Deviation from parental additivity was most important following hybridization and was accompanied by maternal expression dominance, although transgressively expressed genes were also encountered. Maternal dominance was attenuated following genome duplication in S. anglica, but this species exhibits an increased number of transgressively overexpressed genes.
  • These results reflect the decoupled effects of the ‘genomic shock’ following hybridization and genome redundancy on the genetic, epigenetic and regulatory mechanisms characterizing transcriptomic evolution in allopolyploids.