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Autopolyploidy vs. Allopolyploidy

Submitted by kheredia on Tue, 10/29/2019 - 16:33

One important difference between allopolyploidy and autopolyploidy is how they come to be. Meaning, an allopolyploid individual is made when two parent individuals come together with a different number of their pairs of chromosomes (one gamete has 3, the other 2) to form a hybrid that cannot produce viable gametes. An autopolyploid individual happens when the chromosomes of the diploid parent individual go through a meiotic error which causes the chromosomes to divide incorrectly, resulting in gametes having a full set of chromosomes as well (2n). Another major difference between allo- and autopolyploidy is the fact that one could have the opportunity to produce viable gametes with another in its species, while the other self-fertilizes. Allopolyploid hybrids can go through a duplication event and ‘accidentally’ double the number of the chromosomes they have, which allows them to produce sexually again, and meiosis can proceed normally.

Allopolyploid individuals cannot reproduce easily with the two species that made it (similar to autopolyploidy) but can mate and produce viable gametes with another of its species, unlike autopolyploidy, where there is just one parent involved. A third important difference between allo- and autopolyploidy is the amount of genetic variation in each. Because there is only one parent involved for autopolyploidization, there is a small amount of genetic variance within the offspring. But, this is not the case for allopolyploidization. Two species can create a large amount of the allopolyploid hybrids, which can then interbreed between each other. This different origins of the hybrid creates more genetic variation, which allows for natural selection to create more fit hybrids as the generations continue.