Comparative analysis reveals that polyploidy does not decelerate diversification in fish

S. H. Zhan, L. Glick, C. S. Tsigenopoulos, S. P. Otto, I. Mayrose*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While the proliferation of the species-rich teleost fish has been ascribed to an ancient genome duplication event at the base of this group, the broader impact of polyploidy on fish evolution and diversification remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate the association between polyploidy and diversification in several fish lineages: the sturgeons (Acipenseridae: Acipenseriformes), the botiid loaches (Botiidae: Cypriniformes), Cyprininae fishes (Cyprinidae: Cypriniformes) and the salmonids (Salmonidae: Salmoniformes). Using likelihood-based evolutionary methodologies, we co-estimate speciation and extinction rates associated with polyploid vs. diploid fish lineages. Family-level analysis of Acipenseridae and Botiidae revealed no significant difference in diversification rates between polyploid and diploid relatives, while analysis of the subfamily Cyprininae revealed higher polyploid diversification. Additionally, order-level analysis of the polyploid Salmoniformes and its diploid sister clade, the Esociformes, did not support a significantly different net diversification rate between the two groups. Taken together, our results suggest that polyploidy is generally not associated with decreased diversification in fish - a pattern that stands in contrast to that previously observed in plants. While there are notable differences in the time frame examined in the two studies, our results suggest that polyploidy is associated with different diversification patterns in these two major branches of the eukaryote tree of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-403
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • Acipenseridae
  • Binary state speciation and extinction
  • Botiidae
  • Chromosome number
  • Cyprinidae
  • Salmoniformes
  • Teleost fish


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