More Genome Copies in Switchgrass Linked to More Climate Flexibility and Adaptation

Roughly half of all flowering plants are polyploid, meaning that they have more than two sets of chromosomes. Scientists believe polyploidy drives adaptation by giving organisms more genetic diversity. This research compared tetraploid (four copies) and octoploid (eight copies) varieties of switchgrass, and found that octoploid switchgrasses are generalists, able to tolerate a broad range of environmental conditions and expand their range into new areas.