In an open-access review article titled "Polyploidy, the Nucleotype, and Novelty: The Impact of Genome Doubling on the Biology of the Cell," that was published in the January 2019 print issue of the International Journal of Plant Sciences(180: 1-52), Dr. Jeff J. Doyle and Dr. Jeremy E. Coate examine the effects of genome doubling on cell biology and the generation of novelty in plants. Polyploid organisms are those containing more than two paired (homologous) sets of chromosomes, and polyploidy is common across many plant species. This "genome doubling" generates evolutionary novelty and is a prime facilitator of new species. How polyploidy alters cells to generate novelty, however, is complex, and, as Dr. Doyle (School of Integrative Plant Science, Plant Breeding and Genetics Section, Cornell University) and Dr. Coate (Biology Department, Reed College) illustrate, not well understood, even on a fundamental level. Rapidly developing technology, however, will enable researchers to shed light, not only on this integral part of plant evolution and biology, but also on the function of cells in general. Many of the documented effects of genome doubling on cells, such as increases in cell size, nuclear volume, and cell cycle duration, are hypothesized to be "nucleotypic" – i.e., effects induced by changes in bulk DNA amount, irrespective of genotype. Dr. Doyle and Dr. Coate update our understanding of the nucleotype and other mechanisms by which genome doubling can alter cell biology, highlighting insights gained from studies of synthetic autopolyploids and relating these to the current state of knowledge in the field of cell biology. Cell size, in particular, was of great interest to the authors, because it is strongly associated with genome doubling.
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