Apr 7, 2020

Invasion and maintenance of spore killing in ascomycete fungi

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Ivain martinossiH. Johannesson


Meiotic drivers are common selfish genetic elements that have the ability to become over-represented among the products of meiosis, a transmission advantage that allows them to spread in a population even when they impose fitness costs on their host organisms. The ability of a meiotic driver to invade a population, and to subsequently reach fixation or coexist in a stable polymorphism can be affected by features of the life-cycle, behavior, and population structure of their host organism. Here, we present a mathematical model that addresses several unexplored aspects of meiotic drive population genetics, by focusing on spore killing, a type of drive specific to fungi. Our model can be adapted to different fungal life-cycles, and is used here to specifically analyze the cases of two well-studied genera of filamentous ascomycetes known to harbor spore killing elements, Podospora and Neurospora. We show how ploidy level, rate of selfing, and efficiency of spore killing affect the invasion probability of a driving allele and conditions for its coexistence in a stable polymorphism. Our theoretical findings are discussed in light of recent empirical findings in these two systems.

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