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Evolutionary mechanism of genome duplication enhancing natural autotetraploid sea barley adaptability to drought stress

Zhou, Kai, Liu, Beibei, Wang, Yiling, Zhang, Xinquan, Sun, Genlou
Environmental and experimental botany 2019 v.159 pp. 44-54
ancestry, autotetraploidy, barley, biochemical pathways, diploidy, drought, gene expression, gene expression regulation, genes, water stress
The evolutionary mechanism where autopolyploid tolerate abiotic stresses better than its diploid ancestor is poorly known. Large-scale gene-expression changes were not observed in synthetic autopolyploids compared to their respective diploids. However, natural autopolyploids with longer evolutionary periods might have experienced major changes that resulted in greater adaptation of autopolyploids, which might contribute to gene expression in natural autopolyploid differently from that in synthetic autopolyploid, and explain why genome doubling can help plants develop a stronger ability to adapt to various environmental stresses. However, information on this is still lacking. Here, diploid and autotetraploid sea barley tolerance to drought stress were analyzed. Our data showed that autotetraploids showed higher tolerance to drought stress than diploids. The results of GO enrichment and KEGG pathway enrichment showed that diploid and tetraploid would alter their physiological and biochemical process, even morphology to respond to drought stress via different molecular mechanism. Genome duplication resulted in more differentially expressed drought-related genes and higher expression level of those genes in autopolyploid than in diploid, 186 drought-related genes with 97 genes up-regulated in comparison of DiH826Dr_vs_DiH826Ck, while 297 drought-related genes with 126 up-regulated in TetraH832Dr_vs_TetraH832Ck. Among these drought-related genes, 81 of them were specific significantly expressed in DiH826Dr_vs_DiH826Ck, 192 genes were specific significantly expressed in TetraH832Dr_vs_TetraH832Ck. Although our results indicated that the autopolyploid does not seem to undergo major changes of gene expression over long periods (2.84%) and under drought stress, more DEGs and more up-regulated DEGs between autotetraploid and diploid were observed than those in the CK. Furthermore, genome duplication also resulted in gain or loss of drought-related genes, which might offer potential for autopolyploid to survive better under drought environment.