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Review Article|21 May 2014|OPEN
Genome triplication drove the diversification of Brassica plants
Feng Cheng1 , Jian Wu1 and Xiaowu Wang,1 ,
1Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 1,
Article number: 24 (2014)
Views: 844

Received: 25 Feb 2014
Revised: 21 Mar 2014
Accepted: 25 Mar 2014
Published online: 21 May 2014


The genus Brassica belongs to the plant family Brassicaceae, which includes many important crop species that are used as oilseed, condiments, or vegetables throughout the world. Brassica plants comprise many diverse species, and each species contains rich morphotypes showing extreme traits. Brassica species experienced an extra whole genome triplication (WGT) event compared with the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Whole genome sequencing of the Brassica species Brassica rapa, Brassica oleracea and others demonstrated that WGT plays an important role in the speciation and morphotype diversification of Brassica plants. Comparative genomic analysis based on the genome sequences of B. rapa and A. thaliana clearly identified the WGT event and further demonstrated that the translocated Proto-Calepine Karyotype (tPCK, n=7) was the diploid ancestor of the three subgenomes in B. rapa. Following WGT, subsequent extensive genome fractionation, block reshuffling and chromosome reduction accompanied by paleocentromere descent from the three tPCK subgenomes during the rediploidization process produced stable diploid species. Genomic rearrangement of the diploid species and their hybridization then contributed to Brassica speciation. The subgenome dominance effect and biased gene retention, such as the over-retention of auxin-related genes after WGT, promoted functional gene evolution and thus propelled the expansion of rich morphotypes in the Brassica species. In conclusion, the WGT event initiated subsequent genomic and gene-level evolution, which further drove Brassica speciation and created rich morphotypes in each species.