By heatherramsey

Heather is a Masters student in the Genetics Graduate Program at UBC. She is planning to do her thesis on molecular evolution in anthocyanin biosynthetic genes (genes that make flowers colourful, in other words). Heather is a Vancouverite born and bred, and plants make her happy. No, she doesn\'t smoke them, she identifies them! So if you see someone on Main Mall bending over to get a really good look at some weed sprouting up from the sidewalk, it\'s probably her.


Any student who has lost hours of work to a computer crash knows the value of backing up important files. Yet long before the first distraught student uttered shrieks of dismay at disappearing data, plants were saving an extra copy of certain genes—or so say Brad Chapman and his colleagues in a recent paper that offers a fresh look at what happens to duplicated genes when polyploids are formed. A polyploid is the result of genome duplication (Bowers et al. 2003), which may occur when errors during meiosis produce aberrant gametes with 2N rather than 1N chromosomes. Although genome duplication…