Neopolyploidy and diversification in Heuchera grossulariifolia.


Newly formed polyploid lineages must contend with several obstacles to avoid extinction, including minority cytotype exclusion, competition, and inbreeding depression. If polyploidization results in immediate divergence of phenotypic characters these hurdles may be reduced and establishment made more likely. In addition, if polyploidization alters the phenotypic and genotypic associations between traits, that is, the P and G matrices, polyploids may be able to explore novel evolutionary paths, facilitating their divergence and successful establishment. Here, we report results from a study of the perennial plant Heuchera grossulariifolia in which the phenotypic divergence and changes in phenotypic and genotypic covariance matrices caused by neopolyploidization have been estimated. Our results reveal that polyploidization causes immediate divergence for traits relevant to establishment and results in significant changes in the structure of the phenotypic covariance matrix. In contrast, our results do not provide evidence that polyploidization results in immediate and substantial shifts in the genetic covariance matrix.

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