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Drift-induced selection between male and female heterogamety


Veller, Carl; Muralidhar, Pavitra; Constable, George W A; Nowak, Martin A (2017). Drift-induced selection between male and female heterogamety. Genetics, 207(2):711-727.

Abstract

Evolutionary transitions between male and female heterogamety are common in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Theoretical studies of these transitions have found that, when all genotypes are equally fit, continuous paths of intermediate equilibria link the two sex chromosome systems. This observation has led to a belief that neutral evolution along these paths can drive transitions, and that arbitrarily small fitness differences among sex chromosome genotypes can determine the system to which evolution leads. Here, we study stochastic evolutionary dynamics along these equilibrium paths. We find non-neutrality, both in transitions retaining the ancestral pair of sex chromosomes, and in those creating a new pair. In fact, substitution rates are biased in favor of dominant sex determining chromosomes, which fix with higher probabilities than mutations of no effect. Using diffusion approximations, we show that this non-neutrality is a result of “drift-induced selection” operating at every point along the equilibrium paths: stochastic jumps off the paths return with, on average, a directional bias in favor of the dominant segregating sex chromosome. Our results offer a novel explanation for the observed preponderance of dominant sex determining genes, and hint that drift-induced selection may be a common force in standard population genetic systems.

Abstract

Evolutionary transitions between male and female heterogamety are common in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Theoretical studies of these transitions have found that, when all genotypes are equally fit, continuous paths of intermediate equilibria link the two sex chromosome systems. This observation has led to a belief that neutral evolution along these paths can drive transitions, and that arbitrarily small fitness differences among sex chromosome genotypes can determine the system to which evolution leads. Here, we study stochastic evolutionary dynamics along these equilibrium paths. We find non-neutrality, both in transitions retaining the ancestral pair of sex chromosomes, and in those creating a new pair. In fact, substitution rates are biased in favor of dominant sex determining chromosomes, which fix with higher probabilities than mutations of no effect. Using diffusion approximations, we show that this non-neutrality is a result of “drift-induced selection” operating at every point along the equilibrium paths: stochastic jumps off the paths return with, on average, a directional bias in favor of the dominant segregating sex chromosome. Our results offer a novel explanation for the observed preponderance of dominant sex determining genes, and hint that drift-induced selection may be a common force in standard population genetic systems.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:17 Jan 2018 18:27
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 10:22
Publisher:Genetics Society of America
ISSN:0016-6731
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.117.300151
PubMed ID:28821587

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