Albertin W, Marullo P, Aigle M, Bourgais A, Bely M, Dillmann C, DE Vienne D, Sicard D

J Evol Biol. 2009 Nov;22(11):2157–70

Partial or whole-genome duplications have played a major role in the evolution of new species. We have investigated the variation of ploidy level in a panel of domesticated strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae coming from different geographical origins. Segregation studies and crosses with tester strains of different ploidy levels showed that part of the strains were well-balanced autotetraploids displaying tetrasomic inheritance. The presence of up to four different alleles for various loci is consistent with a polyploidization mechanism relying on the fusion of two nonreduced meiospores coming from two S. cerevisiae strains. Autotetraploidy was also in accordance with karyotype and flow cytometry analyses. Interestingly, most bakery strains were tetraploids, suggesting a link between ploidy level and human use. The null or drastically reduced fertility of the hybrids between tetraploid and diploid strains indicated that domesticated S. cerevisiae strains are composed of two groups isolated by post-zygotic reproductivebarriers.