Buggs, R. J. A., J. F. Wendel, J. J. Doyle, D. E. Soltis, P. S. Soltis, and J. E. Coate. 2014. The legacy of diploid progenitors in allopolyploid gene expression patterns. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 369:20130354. [Link to article on publisher’s site]
Allopolyploidization (hybridization and whole-genome duplication) is a common phenomenon in plant evolution with immediate saltational effects on genome structure and gene expression. New technologies have allowed rapid progress over the past decade in our understanding of the consequences of allopolyploidy. A major question, raised by early pioneer of this field Leslie Gottlieb, concerned the extent to which gene expression differences among duplicate genes present in an allopolyploid are a legacy of expression differences that were already present in the progenitor diploid species. Addressing this question necessitates phylogenetically well-understood natural study systems, appropriate technology, availability of genomic resources and a suitable analytical framework, including a sufficiently detailed and generally accepted terminology. Here, we review these requirements and illustrate their application to a natural study system that Gottlieb worked on and recommended for this purpose: recent allopolyploids of Tragopogon (Asteraceae). We reanalyse recent data from this system within the conceptual framework of parental legacies on duplicate gene expression in allopolyploids. On a broader level, we highlight the intellectual connection between Gottlieb’s phrasing of this issue and the more contemporary framework of cis- versus trans-regulation of duplicate gene expression in allopolyploid plants.