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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Polyploid evolution in Oryza officinalis complex of the genus Oryza

Baosheng Wang12, Zhuoya Ding12, Wei Liu12, Jin Pan1, Changbao Li1, Song Ge1 and Daming Zhang1*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, PR China

2 Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, PR China

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2009, 9:250  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-250

Published: 14 October 2009



Polyploidization is a prominent process in plant evolution, whereas the mechanism and tempo-spatial process remained poorly understood. Oryza officinalis complex, a polyploid complex in the genus Oryza, could exemplify the issues not only for it covering a variety of ploidy levels, but also for the pantropical geographic pattern of its polyploids in Asia, Africa, Australia and Americas, in which a pivotal genome, the C-genome, witnessed all the polyploidization process.


Tracing the C-genome evolutionary history in Oryza officinalis complex, this study revealed the genomic relationships, polyploid forming and diverging times, and diploidization process, based on phylogeny, molecular-clock analyses and fluorescent in situ hybridization using genome-specific probes. Results showed that C-genome split with B-genome at ca. 4.8 Mya, followed by a series of speciation of C-genome diploids (ca. 1.8-0.9 Mya), which then partook in successive polyploidization events, forming CCDD tetraploids in ca. 0.9 Mya, and stepwise forming BBCC tetraploids between ca. 0.3-0.6 Mya. Inter-genomic translocations between B- and C-genomes were identified in BBCC tetraploid, O. punctata. Distinct FISH (fluorescent in situ hybridization) patterns among three CCDD species were visualized by C-genome-specific probes. B-genome was modified before forming the BBCC tetraploid, O. malampuzhaensis.


C-genome, shared by all polyploid species in the complex, had experienced different evolutionary history particularly after polyploidization, e.g., inter-genomic exchange in BBCC and genomic invasion in CCDD tetraploids. It diverged from B-genome at 4.8 Mya, then participated in the tetraploid formation spanning from 0.9 to 0.3 Mya, and spread into tropics of the disjunct continents by transcontinentally long-distance dispersal, instead of vicariance, as proposed by this study, given that the continental splitting was much earlier than the C-genome species radiation. We also find reliable evidence indicated that an extinct BB diploid species in Asia was presumptively the direct genomic donor of their sympatric tetraploids.