Genes that are inherently subject to strong selective constraints tend to be overretained in duplicate after polyploidy. They also continue to experience similar, but somewhat relaxed, constraints after that polyploidy event. We sought to assess for how long the influence of polyploidy is felt on these genes' selective pressures. We analyzed two nested polyploidy events in Brassicaceae: the At-α genome duplication that is the most recent polyploidy in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and a more recent hexaploidy shared by the genus Brassica and its relatives. By comparing the strength and direction of the natural selection acting at the population and at the species level, we find evidence for continued intensified purifying selection acting on retained duplicates from both polyploidies even down to the present. The constraint observed in preferentially retained genes is not a result of the polyploidy event: the orthologs of such genes experience even stronger constraint in nonpolyploid outgroup genomes. In both the Arabidopsis and Brassica lineages, we further find evidence for segregating mildly deleterious variants, confirming that the population-level data uncover patterns not visible with between-species comparisons. Using the A. thaliana metabolic network, we also explored whether network position was correlated with the measured selective constraint. At both the population and species level, nodes/genes tended to show similar constraints to their neighbors. Our results paint a picture of the long-lived effects of polyploidy on plant genomes, suggesting that even yesterday's polyploids still have distinct evolutionary trajectories.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics