Muller's Ratchet and the Degeneration of the Drosophila miranda Neo-Y Chromosome

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Abstract

Since its formation about 1.75 million years ago, the Drosophila miranda neo-Y chromosome has undergone a rapid process of degeneration, having lost approximately half of the genes that it originally contained. Using estimates of mutation rates and selection coefficients for loss-of-function mutations, we show that the high rate of accumulation of these mutations can largely be explained by Muller's ratchet, the process of stochastic loss of the least-loaded mutational class from a finite, nonrecombining population. We show that selection at nonsynonymous coding sites can accelerate the process of gene loss and that this effect varies with the number of genes still present on the degenerating neo-Y chromosome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-348
Number of pages17
JournalGenetics
Volume185
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2010

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