Somatic polyploidization, an adaptation by which cells increase their DNA content to support growth, is observed in many cell types, including cardiomyocytes. Although polyploidization is believed to be beneficial, progression to a polyploid state is often accompanied by loss of proliferative capacity. Recent work suggests that genetics heavily influence cardiomyocyte ploidy. However, the developmental course by which cardiomyocytes reach their final ploidy state has only been investigated in select backgrounds. Here, we assessed cardiomyocyte number, cell cycle activity, and ploidy dynamics across two divergent mouse strains: C57BL/6J and A/J. Both strains are born and reach adulthood with comparable numbers of cardiomyocytes; however, the end composition of ploidy classes and developmental progression to reach the final state differ substantially. We expand on previous findings that identified Tnni3k as a mediator of cardiomyocyte ploidy and uncover a role for Runx1 in ploidy dynamics and cardiomyocyte cell division, in both developmental and injury contexts. These data provide novel insights into the developmental path to cardiomyocyte polyploidization and challenge the paradigm that hypertrophy is the sole mechanism for growth in the postnatal heart.

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