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Speciation can occur by polyploidy. My understanding of the process is as follows:

'polyploidy is when the number of chromosomes in an organism's cell doubles. This means that the organism has more chromosomes than other individuals of the same species, meaning it cannot mate with other individuals. The polyploidy organism then evolves, eventually leading to it becoming a separate species'.

I realise this may not be exactly correct. Is someone able to provide a better description of speciation by polyploidy?

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By definition, polyploidy just means that a cell or organism contains more than 2 pairs of homologous chromosomes (or is more than 2n). This is more common in plants than it is in animals. The plant, as shown below, undergoes failed meiosis, which means that the diploid (2n) cells never become haploid (n). As a result, a plant ends up with more than 2n when it self-polinates. The shown result is tetraploidy (4n), but there are other possible results (3n, 5n, etc).


Multiple plants within a population can end up with the same polyploidy number. They can then reproduce with each other but not with the original plants or any other plants. As a result, they become biologically isolated from the original group of plants and are considered a different species. It is a type of sympatric speciation, which means that it occurs without geographic isolation.

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