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Experimental evidence supports a sex-specific selective sieve in mitochondrial genome evolution
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 12:31 authored by Paolo Innocenti, Ted Morrow, Damian K Dowling
Mitochondria are maternally transmitted; hence, their genome can only make a direct and adaptive response to selection through females, whereas males represent an evolutionary dead end. In theory, this creates a sex-specific selective sieve, enabling deleterious mutations to accumulate in mitochondrial genomes if they exert male-specific effects. We tested this hypothesis, expressing five mitochondrial variants alongside a standard nuclear genome in Drosophila melanogaster, and found striking sexual asymmetry in patterns of nuclear gene expression. Mitochondrial polymorphism had few effects on nuclear gene expression in females but major effects in males, modifying nearly 10% of transcripts. These were mostly male-biased in expression, with enrichment hotspots in the testes and accessory glands. Our results suggest an evolutionary mechanism that results in mitochondrial genomes harboring male-specific mutation loads.
PublisherAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science
Department affiliated with
- Evolution, Behaviour and Environment Publications
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