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Although evolutionary transitions from sexual to asexual reproduction are frequent in eukaryotes, the genetic bases of these shifts remain largely elusive. Here, we used classic quantitative trait analysis, combined with genomic and transcriptomic information to dissect the genetic basis of asexual, parthenogenetic reproduction in the brown alga Ectocarpus. We found that parthenogenesis is controlled by the sex locus, together with two additional autosomal loci, highlighting the key role of the sex chromosome as a major regulator of asexual reproduction. We identify several negative effects of parthenogenesis on male fitness, and different fitness effects of parthenogenetic capacity depending on the life cycle generation. Although allele frequencies in natural populations are currently unknown, we discuss the possibility that parthenogenesis may be under both sex-specific selection and generation/ploidally-antagonistic selection, and/or that the action of fluctuating selection on this trait may contribute to the maintenance of polymorphisms in populations. Importantly, our data provide the first empirical illustration, to our knowledge, of a trade-off between the haploid and diploid stages of the life cycle, where distinct parthenogenesis alleles have opposing effects on sexual and asexual reproduction and may help maintain genetic variation. These types of fitness trade-offs have profound evolutionary implications in natural populations and may structure life history evolution in organisms with haploid-diploid life cycles.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PLoS genetics
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A unisexual reproduction without the fusion of a male and a female gamete (FERTILIZATION). In parthenogenesis, an individual is formed from an unfertilized OVUM that did not complete MEIOSIS. Parthenogenesis occurs in nature and can be artificially induced.
A subdiscipline of genetics which deals with the cytological and molecular analysis of the CHROMOSOMES, and location of the GENES on chromosomes, and the movements of chromosomes during the CELL CYCLE.
A thermogenic form of adipose tissue composed of BROWN ADIPOCYTES. It is found in newborns of many species including humans, and in hibernating mammals. Brown fat is richly vascularized, innervated, and densely packed with MITOCHONDRIA which can generate heat directly from the stored lipids.
The reciprocal exchange of segments at corresponding positions along pairs of homologous CHROMOSOMES by symmetrical breakage and crosswise rejoining forming cross-over sites (HOLLIDAY JUNCTIONS) that are resolved during CHROMOSOME SEGREGATION. Crossing-over typically occurs during MEIOSIS but it may also occur in the absence of meiosis, for example, with bacterial chromosomes, organelle chromosomes, or somatic cell nuclear chromosomes.
A family of structurally related proteins that were originally discovered for their role in cell-cycle regulation in CAENORHABDITIS ELEGANS. They play important roles in regulation of the CELL CYCLE and as components of UBIQUITIN-PROTEIN LIGASES.
The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of sexual health; "the state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction and infirmity. Sexual health requires a posit...