Mixed-Ploidy Species: Progress and Opportunities in Polyploid Research
Mixed-ploidy species harbor a unique form of genomic and phenotypic variation that influences ecological interactions, facilitates genetic divergence, and offers insights into the mechanisms of polyploid evolution. However, there have been few attempts to synthesize this literature. We review here research on the cytotype distribution, diversity, and dynamics of intensively studied mixed-ploidy species and consider the implications for understanding mechanisms of polyploidization such as cytotype formation, establishment, coexistence, and post-polyploid divergence. In general, mixed-ploidy species are unevenly represented among families: they exhibit high cytotype diversity, often within populations, and frequently comprise rare and odd-numbered ploidies. Odd-ploidies often occur in association with asexuality. We highlight research hypotheses and opportunities that take advantage of the unique properties of ploidy variation.
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