, Volume 41, Issue 8, pp 890-896

Allopolyploidy in Wheat Induces Rapid and Heritable Alterations in DNA Methylation Patterns of Cellular Genes and Mobile Elements

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Whereas accumulating recent evidences indicate that allopolyploid formation in plants is accompanied by rapid and non-Mendelian genomic changes, some other works showed genomic stasis in both nascent and natural allopolyploids. To further study the issue, we performed global DNA fingerprinting of a newly synthesized allohexaploid wheat and its natural counterpart, the common wheat, by AFLP analysis. It was found that ca. 20% bands showed deviation from parental additivity in both synthetic and natural common wheat. Sequence analysis indicates that a majority of the changed bands represent known-function genes and transposable elements. DNA gel blot analysis showed that the main type of changes in the amphiploid is epigenetic in nature, i.e., alteration in DNA methylation patterns. Two types of alterations in methylation, random and non-random, were detected, and both types were stably inherited. Possible causes and implications of the epigenetic changes in allopolyploid genome evolution and speciation are discussed.