Although whole-genome duplication (WGD) is an important speciation force, we still lack a consensus on the role of niche differentiation in polyploid evolution. In addition, the role of genome doubling per se vs. later divergence on polyploid niche evolution remains obscure. One reason for this might be that the intraspecific genetic structure of polyploid complexes and interploidy gene flow is often neglected in ecological studies. Here, we aim to investigate to which extent these evolutionary processes impact our inference on niche differentiation of autopolyploids.
Arabidopsis and Brassicaceae
Parallel evolution provides powerful natural experiments for studying repeatability of evolution and genomic basis of adaptation. Well-documented examples from plants are, however, still rare, as are inquiries of mechanisms driving convergence in some traits while divergence in others. Arabidopsis arenosa, a predominantly foothill species with scattered morphologically distinct alpine occurrences is a promising candidate. Yet, the hypothesis of parallelism remained untested.