Endopolyploidy: Towards an understanding of its biological significance

Acta Biotheoretica 27 (1-2) (1978)
Abstract
There is a certain measure of perplexity concerning the significance of endopolyploidy. It seems that this results from a narrow frame of reference from which investigators view the phenomenon; that is, a predilection for emphasizing the specialized functional aspect of endopolyploidy as it operates in species at the present time overrides any consideration of the rôle that this state may play in the life of a species in its encounter with the forces of natural selection either in the past or in the future.There does not seem to be any obvious relationship between the degree of endopolyploidy that a species can exhibit and either its basic DNA content or the structure of its nucleus. The significance of endopolyploidy may reside not so much in any specialized function that the condition can support, but rather in the properties that are consequent upon the endopolyploid condition itself and which are distinct from those that apply to diploid cells. Some of the properties of the endopolyploid state, and examples of their manifestation in plants and animals, are discussed. The conclusion is that these properties have a potential that opens possibilities for new paths of development and serves as a factor upon which natural selection can operate
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