Research ArticlePLANT SCIENCES

Revisiting ancestral polyploidy in plants

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Science Advances  05 Jul 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 7, e1603195
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603195

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Whole-genome duplications (WGDs) or polyploidy events have been studied extensively in plants. In a now widely cited paper, Jiao et al. presented evidence for two ancient, ancestral plant WGDs predating the origin of flowering and seed plants, respectively. This finding was based primarily on a bimodal age distribution of gene duplication events obtained from molecular dating of almost 800 phylogenetic gene trees. We reanalyzed the phylogenomic data of Jiao et al. and found that the strong bimodality of the age distribution may be the result of technical and methodological issues and may hence not be a “true” signal of two WGD events. By using a state-of-the-art molecular dating algorithm, we demonstrate that the reported bimodal age distribution is not robust and should be interpreted with caution. Thus, there exists little evidence for two ancient WGDs in plants from phylogenomic dating.

  • Plant polyploidy
  • whole genome duplication
  • molecular dating
  • r8s
  • Phylogenomics
  • Genome evolution

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