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Meiotic recombination and genome rearrangements in new polyploids

Polyploidization events have been frequent in plant evolution. Many plant species and most crops are polyploid. However, processes that determine the evolutionary success of new polyploids are poorly understood. Most polyploidization events are followed by rapid and extensive genome rearrangement. This process, known as diploidization, includes chromosome deletions, as well as duplications, translocations, and inversions, and transforms a newly-formed polyploid into a stable plant with reduced genome size, lower chromosome number, and diploid (disomic) chromosome behavior. The predominant mechanism of these rearrangements is illegitimate recombination (IR) taking place during meiosis. These changes can occur on a massive scale in the first few generations following a polyploidization event, but they are also thought to continue several million years thereafter. How meiotic recombination acts to restructure the genomes of newly created polyploids is not understood. We plan to utilize knowledge of meiotic recombination in diploids to elucidate molecular mechanisms controlling genome restructuring in polyploids.

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