Here we review the biology of early generation neopolyploids and discuss the profound changes that accompany their formation. Newly formed auto- and allopolyploids exhibit considerable meiotic complexity, including multivalent pairing, multisomic inheritance, and the production of unbalanced gametes. The cytogenetic behavior of allopolyploids and autopolyploids differ statistically, but are more similar than commonly believed. The progeny of neopolyploids include a high frequency of aneuploids, pseudoeuploids and homeologue-recombinant genotypes that may contribute to the phenotypic variability observed in early generation polyploids. We find no evidence to support the traditional view that autopolyploids possess lower fertility than allopolyploids, casting doubt on the paradigm that allopolyploids should be more frequent due to their inherent fertility. The fertility of early generation polyploids increases rapidly, owing largely to selection against meiotic configurations that generate unbalanced gametes. Neopolyploids are commonly differentiated from progenitors by a combination of morphological, phenological and life-history characteristics. Further progress toward understanding polyploid evolution will require studies in natural populations that can evaluate the demographic and larger ecological significance of the cytogenetic and phenotypic character of neopolyploids.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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