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Early allopolyploid evolution in the post-Neolithic Brassica napus oilseed genome

Science  22 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6199, pp. 950-953
DOI: 10.1126/science.1253435

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The genomic origins of rape oilseed

Many domesticated plants arose through the meeting of multiple genomes through hybridization and genome doubling, known as polyploidy. Chalhoub et al. sequenced the polyploid genome of Brassica napus, which originated from a recent combination of two distinct genomes approximately 7500 years ago and gave rise to the crops of rape oilseed (canola), kale, and rutabaga. B. napus has undergone multiple events affecting differently sized genetic regions where a gene from one progenitor species has been converted to the copy from a second progenitor species. Some of these gene conversion events appear to have been selected by humans as part of the process of domestication and crop improvement.

Science, this issue p. 950

Abstract

Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) was formed ~7500 years ago by hybridization between B. rapa and B. oleracea, followed by chromosome doubling, a process known as allopolyploidy. Together with more ancient polyploidizations, this conferred an aggregate 72× genome multiplication since the origin of angiosperms and high gene content. We examined the B. napus genome and the consequences of its recent duplication. The constituent An and Cn subgenomes are engaged in subtle structural, functional, and epigenetic cross-talk, with abundant homeologous exchanges. Incipient gene loss and expression divergence have begun. Selection in B. napus oilseed types has accelerated the loss of glucosinolate genes, while preserving expansion of oil biosynthesis genes. These processes provide insights into allopolyploid evolution and its relationship with crop domestication and improvement.

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