Ploidy and the causes of genomic evolution

Aleeza C. Gerstein, Sarah P. Otto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Genomes vary dramatically in size and in content. This variation is driven in part by numerous polyploidization events that have happened over the course of eukaryotic evolution. Experimental evolution studies, primarily using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, provide insights into the immediate fitness effects of ploidy mutations, the ability of organisms of different ploidy levels to mask deleterious mutations, the impact of ploidy on rates of adaptation, and the relative roles of selection versus drift in shaping ploidy evolution. We review these experimental evolution studies and present new data on differences in maximal growth rate for cells of different ploidy levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-581
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (Canada graduate scholarship to A.C.G., Discovery grant to S.P.O.).


  • Drift
  • Experimental evolution
  • Growth rate
  • Mutation
  • Ploidy
  • Rate of adaptation
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Selection


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