Ploidy variation in fungi: Polyploidy, aneuploidy, and genome evolution

Robert T. Todd, Anja Forche, Anna Selmecki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The ability of an organism to replicate and segregate its genome with high fidelity is vital to its survival and for the production of future generations. Errors in either of these steps (replication or segregation) can lead to a change in ploidy or chromosome number. While these drastic genome changes can be detrimental to the organism, resulting in decreased fitness, they can also provide increased fitness during periods of stress. A change in ploidy or chromosome number can fundamentally change how a cell senses and responds to its environment. Here, we discuss current ideas in fungal biology that illuminate how eukaryotic genome size variation can impact the organism at a cellular and evolutionary level. One of the most fascinating observations from the past 2 decades of research is that some fungi have evolved the ability to tolerate large genome size changes and generate vast genomic heterogeneity without undergoing canonical meiosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberFUNK-0051-2016
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Hung-ji Tsai and Jun-Yi Leu for helpful comments on the manuscript, Phillip Richmond for contributing images to Fig. 1, and Kimberly Fischer for writing help and for generating Table 1. This work is supported by Nebraska LB692 Department of Health, Nebraska LB595 Cancer and Smoking Disease Research, and Creighton University and by an NIH grant R15 AI090633 to A.F.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Society for Microbiology.


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