The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "Recurrent allopolyploidization, Y-chromosome introgression and the evolution of sexual systems in the plant genus Mercurialis"

Posted on 2022-03-14 - 05:36
The plant genus Mercurialis includes dioecious, monoecious and androdioecious species (where males coexist with hermaphrodites). Its diversification involved reticulate evolution via hybridization and polyploidization. The Y chromosome of the diploid species M. annua shows only mild signs of degeneration. We used sequence variation at a Y-linked locus in several species and at multiple autosomal and pseudoautosomal loci to investigate the origin and evolution of the Y chromosome across the genus. Our study provides evidence for further cases of allopolyploid speciation. It also reveals that all lineages with separate sexes (with one possible exception) share the same ancestral Y chromosome. Surprisingly, males in androdioecious populations of hexaploid M. annua carry a Y chromosome that is not derived from either of its two putative progenitor lineages but from a more distantly related perennial dioecious lineage via introgression. These results throw new light on the evolution of sexual systems and polyploidy in Mercurialis and secure it as a promising model for further study of plant sex chromosomes.This article is part of the theme issue ‘Sex determination, sex chromosome evolution, and the role of sexual differentiation in land plants’.


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