Mating ecology explains patterns of genome elimination

Andy Gardner*, Laura Ross

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Genome elimination - whereby an individual discards chromosomes inherited from one parent, and transmits only those inherited from the other parent - is found across thousands of animal species. It is more common in association with inbreeding, under male heterogamety, in males, and in the form of paternal genome elimination. However, the reasons for this broad pattern remain unclear. We develop a mathematical model to determine how degree of inbreeding, sex determination, genomic location, pattern of gene expression and parental origin of the eliminated genome interact to determine the fate of genome-elimination alleles. We find that: inbreeding promotes paternal genome elimination in the heterogametic sex; this may incur population extinction under female heterogamety, owing to eradication of males; and extinction is averted under male heterogamety, owing to countervailing sex-ratio selection. Thus, we explain the observed pattern of genome elimination. Our results highlight the interaction between mating system, sex-ratio selection and intragenomic conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1602-1612
Number of pages11
JournalEcology Letters
Issue number12
Early online date17 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Extinction
  • Genomic imprinting
  • Haplodiploidy
  • Inbreeding
  • Meiotic drive
  • Paternal genome elimination
  • Paternal genome loss
  • Sex determination
  • Sex ratio
  • Sib-mating


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