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The potential role of sexual conflict and sexual selection in shaping the genomic distribution of Mito-nuclear genes.


ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial interactions with the nuclear genome represent one of life's most important co-evolved mutualisms. In many organisms, mitochondria are maternally inherited, and in these cases, co-transmission between the mitochondrial and nuclear genes differs across different parts of the nuclear genome, with genes on the X chromosome having two-third probability of co-transmission, compared with one-half for genes on autosomes. These asymmetrical inheritance patterns of mitochondria and different parts of the nuclear genome have the potential to put certain gene combinations in inter-genomic co-adaptation or conflict. Previous work in mammals found strong evidence that the X chromosome has a dearth of genes that interact with the mitochondria (mito-nuclear genes), suggesting that inter-genomic conflict might drive genes off the X onto the autosomes for their male-beneficial effects. Here, we developed this idea to test coadaptation and conflict between mito-nuclear gene combinations across phylogenetically independent sex chromosomes on a far broader scale. We found that, in addition to therian mammals, only Caenorhabditis elegans showed an under-representation of mito-nuclear genes on the sex chromosomes. The remaining species studied showed no overall bias in their distribution of mito-nuclear genes. We discuss possible factors other than inter-genomic conflict that might drive the genomic distribution of mito-nuclear genes.

SUBMITTER: Dean R 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4040984 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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