Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Population Genetics of Ploidy Change in Fungi

Version 1 : Received: 10 September 2020 / Approved: 13 September 2020 / Online: 13 September 2020 (11:48:30 CEST)

How to cite: Gerstein, A.C.; Sharp, N. The Population Genetics of Ploidy Change in Fungi. Preprints 2020, 2020090279. Gerstein, A.C.; Sharp, N. The Population Genetics of Ploidy Change in Fungi. Preprints 2020, 2020090279.


Ploidy is a significant type of genetic variation, describing the number of chromosome sets per cell. Ploidy evolves in natural populations, clinical populations, and lab experiments, particularly in fungi. Despite a long history of theoretical work on this topic, predicting how ploidy will evolve has proven difficult, as it is often unclear why one ploidy state outperforms another. Here, we review what is known about contemporary ploidy evolution in diverse fungal species through the lens of population genetics. As with typical genetic variants, ploidy evolution depends on the rate that new ploidy states arise by mutation, natural selection on alternative ploidy states, and random genetic drift. However, ploidy variation also has unique impacts on evolution, with the potential to alter chromosomal stability, the rate and patterns of point mutation, and the nature of selection on all loci in the genome. We discuss how ploidy evolution depends on these general and unique factors and highlight areas where additional experimental evidence is required to comprehensively explain the ploidy transitions observed in the field and the lab.

Supplementary and Associated Material


selection; mutation; genetic drift; adaptation; ploidy drive; genome instability


Biology and Life Sciences, Immunology and Microbiology

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