Effects of polyploidy in allohexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) have primarily been ascribed to increases in coding sequence variation and potential to acquire new gene functions through mutation of redundant loci. However, regulatory variation that arises through new promoter and transcription factor combinations or epigenetic events may also contribute to the effects of polyploidization. In this study, gene expression was characterized in a synthetic T. aestivum line and the T. turgidum and Aegilops tauschii parents to establish a timeline for such regulatory changes and estimate the frequency of nonadditive expression of homoeologous transcripts in newly formed T. aestivum. Large-scale analysis of nonadditive gene expression was assayed by microarray expression experiments, where synthetic T. aestivum gene expression was compared to additive model values (mid-parent) calculated from parental T. turgidum and Ae. tauschii expression levels. Approximately 16% of genes were estimated to display nonadditive expression in synthetic T. aestivum. A certain fraction of the genes (2.9%) showed overdominance or underdominance. cDNA–single strand conformation polymorphism analysis was applied to measure expression of homoeologous transcripts and further verify microarray data. The results demonstrate that allopolyploidization, per se, results in rapid initiation of differential expression of homoeologous loci and nonadditive gene expression in T. aestivum.


  • 1 Present address: Plant Science and Entomology Research Unit, USDA–ARS Grain Marketing and Production Research Center, Manhattan, KS 66502.

  • Communicating editor: D. Voytas

  • Received September 30, 2008.
  • Accepted December 15, 2008.
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