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Genetics. 2011 Nov;189(3):1011-27. doi: 10.1534/genetics.111.131276. Epub 2011 Sep 6.

The population genetics of X-autosome synthetic lethals and steriles.

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794-5222, USA. lachance.joseph@gmail.com

Abstract

Epistatic interactions are widespread, and many of these interactions involve combinations of alleles at different loci that are deleterious when present in the same individual. The average genetic environment of sex-linked genes differs from that of autosomal genes, suggesting that the population genetics of interacting X-linked and autosomal alleles may be complex. Using both analytical theory and computer simulations, we analyzed the evolutionary trajectories and mutation-selection balance conditions for X-autosome synthetic lethals and steriles. Allele frequencies follow a set of fundamental trajectories, and incompatible alleles are able to segregate at much higher frequencies than single-locus expectations. Equilibria exist, and they can involve fixation of either autosomal or X-linked alleles. The exact equilibrium depends on whether synthetic alleles are dominant or recessive and whether fitness effects are seen in males, females, or both sexes. When single-locus fitness effects and synthetic incompatibilities are both present, population dynamics depend on the dominance of alleles and historical contingency (i.e., whether X-linked or autosomal mutations occur first). Recessive synthetic lethality can result in high-frequency X-linked alleles, and dominant synthetic lethality can result in high-frequency autosomal alleles. Many X-autosome incompatibilities in natural populations may be cryptic, appearing to be single-locus effects because one locus is fixed. We also discuss the implications of these findings with respect to standing genetic variation and the origins of Haldane's rule.

PMID:
21900269
PMCID:
PMC3213362
DOI:
10.1534/genetics.111.131276
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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