Morphological convergence between an allopolyploid and one of its parental species correlates with biased gene expression and DNA loss.

Douglas Alexander-Webber, Richard John Abbott, Mark A Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The contribution of gene expression modulation to phenotypic evolution is of major importance to an understanding of the origin of divergent or convergent phenotypes during and following polyploid speciation. Here we analysed genome-wide gene expression in two subspecies of the allotetraploid species, Senecio mohavensis A. Gray, and its diploid parents S. flavus (Decne.) Sch. Bip. and S. glaucus L.. The tetraploid is morphologically much more similar to S. flavus, leading to earlier confusion over its taxonomic status. By means of an analysis of transcriptomes of all three species, we show that gene expression divergence between the parent species is relatively low (ca. 14% of loci), whereas there is significant unequal expression between ca. 20-25% of the parental homoeologues (gene copies) in the tetraploid. The majority of the expression bias in the tetraploid is in favour of S. flavus homoeologues (ca. 65% of the differentially expressed loci), and overall expression of this parental species sub-genome is higher than that of the S. glaucus sub-genome. To determine whether absence of expression of a particular S. glaucus homoeologue in the allotetraploid could be due to loss of DNA, we carried out a PCR-based assay and confirmed that in three out of 10 loci the S. glaucus homoeologue appeared absent. Our results suggest that biased gene expression is one cause of the allotetraploid S. mohavensis being more similar in morphology to one of its parent, S. flavus, and that such bias could result, in part, from loss of S. glaucus homoeologues at some loci in the allotetraploid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-454
JournalJournal of Heredity
Volume107
Issue number5
Early online date23 May 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016

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