Haploid selection in "diploid" organisms

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Evolutionary rates and strength of selection differ markedly between haploid and diploid genomes. Any genes expressed in a haploid state will be directly exposed to selection, whereas alleles in a diploid state may be partially or fully masked by a homologous allele. This difference may shape key evolutionary processes, including rates of adaptation and inbreeding depression, but also the evolution of sex chromosomes, heterochiasmy, and stable sex ratio biases. All diploid organisms carry haploid genomes, most notably the haploid genomes in gametes produced by every sexually reproducing eukaryote. Furthermore, haploid expression occurs in genes with monoallelic expression, in sex chromosomes, and in organelles, such as mitochondria and plastids. A comparison of evolutionary rates among these haploid genomes reveals striking parallels. Evidence suggests that haploid selection has the potential to shape evolution in predominantly diploid organisms, and taking advantage of the rapidly developing technologies, we are now in the position to quantify the importance of such selection on haploid genomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-236
Number of pages18
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
Early online date26 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • biphasic life cycle
  • gametic selection
  • imprinting
  • mitochondrial genome
  • ploidy
  • sex chromosomes

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