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Evolution. 2015 May;69(5):1208-18. doi: 10.1111/evo.12661. Epub 2015 May 8.

Centromere-associated meiotic drive and female fitness variation in Mimulus.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, Montana, Missoula, 59812.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Kansas, Lawrence, 66045.


Female meiotic drive, in which chromosomal variants preferentially segregate to the egg pole during asymmetric female meiosis, is a theoretically pervasive but still mysterious form of selfish evolution. Like other selfish genetic elements, driving chromosomes may be maintained as balanced polymorphisms by pleiotropic or linked fitness costs. A centromere-associated driver (D) with a ∼58:42 female-specific transmission advantage occurs at intermediate frequency (32-40%) in the Iron Mountain population of the yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus guttatus. Previously determined male fertility costs are sufficient to prevent the fixation of D, but predict a higher equilibrium frequency. To better understand the dynamics and effects of D, we developed a new population genetic model and measured genotype-specific lifetime female fitness in the wild. In three of four years, and across all years, D imposed significant recessive seedset costs, most likely due to hitchhiking by deleterious mutations. With both male and female costs as measured, and 58:42 drive, our model predicts an equilibrium frequency of D (38%) very close to the observed value. Thus, D represents a rare selfish genetic element whose local population genetic dynamics have been fully parameterized, and the observation of equilibrium sets the stage for investigations of coevolution with suppressors.


Balancing selection; centromere; genetic conflict; polymorphism; seedset; selfish genetic element; standing variation

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