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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Polyploidy and the petal transcriptome of Gossypium

Aditi Rambani, Justin T Page and Joshua A Udall*

  • * Corresponding author: Joshua A Udall

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

Plant and Wildlife Science Department, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA

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BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:3  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-3

Published: 6 January 2014



Genes duplicated by polyploidy (homoeologs) may be differentially expressed in plant tissues. Recent research using DNA microarrays and RNAseq data have described a cacophony of complex expression patterns during development of cotton fibers, petals, and leaves. Because of its highly canalized development, petal tissue has been used as a model tissue for gene expression in cotton. Recent advances in cotton genome annotation and assembly now permit an enhanced analysis of duplicate gene deployment in petals from allopolyploid cotton.


Homoeologous gene expression levels were quantified in diploid and tetraploid flower petals of Gossypium using the Gossypium raimondii genome sequence as a reference. In the polyploid, most homoeologous genes were expressed at equal levels, though a subset had an expression bias of AT and DT copies. The direction of gene expression bias was conserved in natural and recent polyploids of cotton. Conservation of direction of bias and additional comparisons between the diploids and tetraploids suggested different regulation mechanisms of gene expression. We described three phases in the evolution of cotton genomes that contribute to gene expression in the polyploid nucleus.


Compared to previous studies, a surprising level of expression homeostasis was observed in the expression patterns of polyploid genomes. Conserved expression bias in polyploid petals may have resulted from cis-acting modifications that occurred prior to polyploidization. Some duplicated genes were intriguing exceptions to general trends. Mechanisms of gene regulation for these and other genes in the cotton genome warrants further investigation.

Cotton; Polyploid; Gene expression; Petal; Expression level dominance; Homoeo-SNP; Gene expression bias; Homoeolog