Polyploidy, defined as multiplication of the whole chromosome complement, is arguably the single most important mechanism in plant speciation and diversification. Herben et al. perform phylogenetic regressions of clonal growth parameters, and test vegetative reproduction in culture in order to test the hypothesis that polyploids exhibit higher vegetative reproduction than diploids, and consequently can survive the period of low fertility after polyploidization.
Based on an extensive dataset on vegetative and seed reproduction modes of > 900 angiosperm species, the study confirms that polyploidy is inextricably associated with vegetative reproduction. Vegetative reproduction has saved many incipient polyploids from extinction and enhances polyploid speciation.
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.