Polyploidy and sexual system in angiosperms: Is there an association?

Lior Glick, Niv Sabath, Tia Lynn Ashman, Emma Goldberg, Itay Mayrose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Flowering plants display a variety of sexual systems, ranging from complete cosexuality (hermaphroditism) to separate-sexed individuals (dioecy). While dioecy is relatively rare, it has evolved many times and is present in many plant families. Transitions in sexual systems are hypothesized to be aff ected by large genomic events such as whole-genome duplication, or polyploidy, and several models have been proposed to explain the observed patterns of association. M ETHODS: In this study, we assessed the association between ploidy and sexual system (separate or combined sexes). To this end, we assembled a database of ploidy levels and sexual systems for ~1000 species, spanning 18 genera and 15 families. We applied several phylogenetic comparative approaches, including Pagel’s coevolutionary framework and sister clade analyses, for detecting correlations between ploidy level and sexual system. KEY RESULTS: Our results indicate a broad association between polyploidy and sexual system dimorphism, with low evolutionary stability of the diploiddioecious condition observed in several clades. A detailed examination of the clades exhibiting this correlation reveals that it is underlain by various patterns of transition rate asymmetry. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the long-hypothesized connection between ploidy and sexual system holds in some clades, although it may well be affected by factors that diff er from clade to clade. Our results further demonstrate that to better understand the evolutionary processes involved, more sophisticated methods and extensive and detailed data sets are required for both broad and focused inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1223-1235
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Botanical Society of America.


  • Correlated evolution
  • Dioecy
  • Hermaphroditism
  • Polyploidy
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Sexual system
  • Whole-genome duplication


Dive into the research topics of 'Polyploidy and sexual system in angiosperms: Is there an association?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this