Special issue. The role of whole genome duplication in evolutionary ecology

Kari A. Segraves, Thomas J. Anneberg

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


Polyploid organisms are common and can be found across the tree of life. A key question is to understand how and why these polyploid lineages become established and persist in populations, particularly since they are predicted to have a low probability of success. While the collection of papers in this special issue addresses broad questions on the evolutionary ecology of polyploids, ultimately, these studies also highlight the myriad ways that we are examining what drives the success of polyploid lineages. In this paper we consider where we've been and the challenges that we face, and then propose several directions that will allow us to continue to propel the field towards our ultimate goal of understanding the rules that govern the establishment and persistence of polyploid populations. We conclude that developing this rule set will require a combination of model systems for which we have detailed knowledge of the phylogenetic and population genetic history, expanding our perspective beyond plants to include greater taxonomic breadth, and conducting studies in ecologically relevant settings. Additionally, we argue that future research on the evolutionary ecology of polyploidy should focus on integrating theory and empirical research, providing mechanistic linkages between the effects of whole genome duplication and population demography, and build a predictive framework to understand how anthropogenic change will impact polyploid organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere10804
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • niche divergence
  • phenotype
  • polyploidy
  • population establishment
  • species interactions
  • whole genome duplication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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