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    Of the many processes that generate gene duplications, polyploidy is unique in that entire genomes are duplicated. This process has been important in the evolution of many eukaryotic groups, and it occurs with high frequency in plants. Recent evidence suggests that polyploidization may be accompanied by rapid genomic changes, but the evolutionary fate of discrete loci recently doubled by polyploidy (homoeologues) has not been studies. Here we use locus-specific isolation techniques with comparative mapping to characterize the evolution of homoeologous loci in allopolyploid cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) and in species representing its diploid progenitors. We isolated and sequenced 16 loci from both genomes and appropriate outgroups. Phylogenetic analysis of the resulting 73.5 kb of sequence data demonstrated that for 16 loci (14.7 kb/genome), the topology expected from organismal history was recovered. In contrast to observations involving repetitive DNAs in cotton, there was no evidence of interaction among duplicated genes in the allopolyploid. Polyploidy was not accompanied by an obvious increase in mutations indicative of pseudogene formation. Additionally, differences in rates of divergence among homoeologues in polyploids and orthologues in diploids were indistinguishable across loci, with significant rate deviation restricted to two putative pseudogenes. Our results indicate that most duplicated genes in allopolyploid cotton evolve independently of each other and at the same rate as those of their diploid progenitors. These indications of genic stasis accompanying polyploidization provide a sharp contrast to recent examples of rapid genomic evolution in allopolyploids.

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    Cronn, Richard C.; Small, Randall L.; Wendel, Jonathan F. 1999. Duplicated genes evolve independently in allopolyploid cotton. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 96: 14406-14411

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