Recent autopolyploidization in a naturalized population of Mimulus guttatus (Phrymaceae).
Polyploidization can trigger rapid changes in morphology, ecology and genomics even in the absence of associated hybridization. However, disentangling the immediate biological consequences of genome duplication from the evolutionary change that subsequently accumulates in polyploid lineages requires the identification and analysis of recently formed polyploids. We investigated the incidence of polyploidization in introduced populations of Mimulus guttatus in the UK and report the discovery of a new mixed diploid-autopolyploid population in the Shetland Isles. We conducted a genetic analysis of six Shetland populations to investigate whether tetraploid individuals may have originated from local diploid plants and compared the morphology of tetraploids and local diploids to assess the phenotypic consequences of genome duplication. Autotetraploids are genetically close to sympatric diploids, suggesting that they have originated locally. Phenotypically, whole genome duplication has resulted in clear differences between ploidies, with tetraploids showing delayed phenology and larger flowers, leaves and stems than diploids. Our results support the hypothesis that novel evolutionary lineages can rapidly originate via polyploidization. The newly discovered autopolyploidization event in a non-native Mimulus population provides an opportunity to investigate the early causes and consequences of polyploidization in the wild.