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Nat Genet. 2016 Jan;48(1):79-83. doi: 10.1038/ng.3443. Epub 2015 Nov 16.

A supergene determines highly divergent male reproductive morphs in the ruff.

Author information

1
Department of Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
2
Institute of Zoology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.
3
Edinburgh Genomics, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.
4
Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.
5
Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
6
Department of Biology and Wildlife, Institute of Arctic Biology, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA.
7
Scientific and Practical Center for Bioresources, Minsk, Belarus.
8
Conservation Ecology Group, Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, Groningen, The Netherlands.
9
Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, University of California Davis, Davis, California, USA.
10
Department of Marine Ecology, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Den Burg, Texel, The Netherlands.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

Three strikingly different alternative male mating morphs (aggressive 'independents', semicooperative 'satellites' and female-mimic 'faeders') coexist as a balanced polymorphism in the ruff, Philomachus pugnax, a lek-breeding wading bird. Major differences in body size, ornamentation, and aggressive and mating behaviors are inherited as an autosomal polymorphism. We show that development into satellites and faeders is determined by a supergene consisting of divergent alternative, dominant and non-recombining haplotypes of an inversion on chromosome 11, which contains 125 predicted genes. Independents are homozygous for the ancestral sequence. One breakpoint of the inversion disrupts the essential CENP-N gene (encoding centromere protein N), and pedigree analysis confirms the lethality of homozygosity for the inversion. We describe new differences in behavior, testis size and steroid metabolism among morphs and identify polymorphic genes within the inversion that are likely to contribute to the differences among morphs in reproductive traits.

PMID:
26569125
PMCID:
PMC5218575
DOI:
10.1038/ng.3443
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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