Transposable elements (TEs), together with polyploidization have a key role in plant evolution, generating changes in genome size, as well as acting as a source for new coding and regulatory genetic sequences. Vicient and Casacuberta review the main consequences of TE activity in plant genomes and gene evolution, in particular after polyploidization events.
Over a short period, polyploidization tends to induce bursts of transposition, probably due to a relaxation in the genome’s epigenetic control. Over longer intervals, TE bursts may induce global changes in genome structure, including losses of large genome regions and chromosomal rearrangements.
This paper is part of the Annals of Botany Special Issue on Polyploidy in Ecology and Evolution. It will be free access until October 2017, then available only to subscribers until August 2018 when it will be free access again.