Meiotic drive

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Meiotic drive is a type of intragenomic conflict, whereby one or more loci within a genome will affect a manipulation of the meiotic process in such a way as to favor the transmission of one or more alleles over another, regardless of its phenotypic expression. More simply, meiotic drive is when one copy of a gene is passed on to offspring more than the expected 50% of the time. According to Buckler et al., "Meiotic drive is the subversion of meiosis so that particular genes are preferentially transmitted to the progeny. Meiotic drive generally causes the preferential segregation of small regions of the genome".[1]

Meiotic drive in plants[edit]

The first report of meiotic drive came from Marcus Rhoades who in 1942 observed a violation of mendelian segregation ratios for the R locus - a gene controlling the production of the purple pigment anthocyanin in maize kernels - in a maize line carrying abnormal chromosome 10.[2] This violation of mendelian segregation was later shown to be the result of an array of Kindr genes at present on the end of chromosome 10 which induce neocentromere activity in maize knobs, causing copies of maize chromosomes carrying knobs to preferentially reach the egg cell during female meiosis.[3]

Meiotic drive in animals[edit]

Meiotic drive genes in animals have primarily been found in rodents and flies.

Meiotic drive in mice[edit]

A study by John Didion and Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena found evidence of a gene in mice (r2d2 – responder to meiotic drive 2) that is passed on more than 50% of the time.[4] Gregor Mendel's First and Second Laws (the law of segregation and the law of independent assortment) tell us that there is a random chance of each allele being passed on to offspring, but selfish genes seem to break these laws.

Meiotic drive in flies[edit]

Selfish chromosomes of stalk-eyed flies have had ecological consequences. Driving X chromosomes lead to reductions in male fecundity, leading to frequency dependent selection maintaining both the driving alleles and wild-type alleles.[5]

Multiple species of fruit fly are known to have driving X chromosomes, of which the best-characterized are found in Drosophila simulans. Three independent driving X chromosomes are known in D. simulans, called Paris, Durham, and Winters. In Paris, the driving gene encodes a DNA modelling protein ("heterochromatin protein 1 D2" or HP1D2), where the allele of the driving copy fails to prepare the male Y chromosome for meiosis.[6] In Winters, the gene responsible ("Distorter on the X" or Dox) has been identified, though the mechanism by which it acts is still unknown.[7] The strong selective pressure imposed by these driving X chromosomes has given rise to suppressors of drive, of which the genes are somewhat known for Winters, Durham, and Paris. These suppressors encode hairpin RNAs which match the sequence of driver genes (such as Dox), leading host RNA interference pathways to degrade Dox sequence.[8] Autosomal suppressors of drive are known in Drosophila mediopunctata,[9] Drosophila paramelanica,[10] Drosophila quinaria,[11] and Drosophila testacea,[12] emphasizing the importance of these drive systems in natural populations.

It has been postulated that meiotic drivers could play a major role in speciation. For instance, the proposal that hybrid sterility (Haldane's rule) may arise from the divergent evolution of sex chromosome drivers and their suppressors.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Buckler Es, 4th; Phelps-Durr, T. L.; Buckler, C. S.; Dawe, R. K.; Doebley, J. F.; Holtsford, T. P. (1999). "Meiotic drive of chromosomal knobs reshaped the maize genome". Genetics. 153 (1): 415–26. PMC 1460728. PMID 10471723.
  2. ^ Rhoades, M. M. (1942). "Preferential Segregation in Maize". Genetics. 27 (4): 395–407. PMC 1209167. PMID 17247049.
  3. ^ Dawe, R. Kelly; Lowry, Elizabeth G.; Gent, Jonathan I.; Stitzer, Michelle C.; Swentowsky, Kyle W.; Higgins, David M.; Ross-Ibarra, Jeffrey; Wallace, Jason G.; Kanizay, Lisa B.; Alabady, Magdy; Qiu, Weihong; Tseng, Kuo-Fu; Wang, Na; Gao, Zhi; Birchler, James A.; Harkess, Alex E.; Hodges, Amy L.; Hiatt, Evelyn N. (2018). "A Kinesin-14 Motor Activates Neocentromeres to Promote Meiotic Drive in Maize". Cell. 173 (4): 839–850.e18. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2018.03.009. PMID 29628142.
  4. ^ Didion, John P.; Morgan, Andrew P.; Clayshulte, Amelia M.-F.; McMullan, Rachel C.; Yadgary, Liran; Petkov, Petko M.; Bell, Timothy A.; Gatti, Daniel M.; Crowley, James J.; Hua, Kunjie; Aylor, David L.; Bai, Ling; Calaway, Mark; Chesler, Elissa J.; French, John E.; Geiger, Thomas R.; Gooch, Terry J.; Garland, Theodore; Harrill, Alison H.; Hunter, Kent; McMillan, Leonard; Holt, Matt; Miller, Darla R.; O'Brien, Deborah A.; Paigen, Kenneth; Pan, Wenqi; Rowe, Lucy B.; Shaw, Ginger D.; Simecek, Petr; et al. (2015). "A Multi-Megabase Copy Number Gain Causes Maternal Transmission Ratio Distortion on Mouse Chromosome 2". Plos Genetics. 11 (2): e1004850. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004850. PMC 4334553. PMID 25679959. Lay (February 11, 2015).
  5. ^ Wilkinson, G. S.; Johns, P. M.; Kelleher, E. S.; Muscedere, M. L.; Lorsong, A. (2006). "Fitness effects of X chromosome drive in the stalk-eyed fly, Cyrtodiopsis dalmanni". Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 19 (6): 1851–1860. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2006.01169.x. PMID 17040382.
  6. ^ Helleu, Quentin; Gérard, Pierre R.; Dubruille, Raphaëlle; Ogereau, David; Prud'Homme, Benjamin; Loppin, Benjamin; Montchamp-Moreau, Catherine (2016). "Rapid evolution of a Y-chromosome heterochromatin protein underlies sex chromosome meiotic drive". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 113 (15): 4110–4115. Bibcode:2016PNAS..113.4110H. doi:10.1073/pnas.1519332113. PMC 4839453. PMID 26979956.
  7. ^ Courret, Cécile; Gérard, Pierre R.; Ogereau, David; Falque, Matthieu; Moreau, Laurence; Montchamp-Moreau, Catherine (2018). "X-chromosome meiotic drive in Drosophila simulans: A QTL approach reveals the complex polygenic determinism of Paris drive suppression". Heredity. doi:10.1038/s41437-018-0163-1. PMID 30518968.
  8. ^ Lin, Ching-Jung; Hu, Fuqu; Dubruille, Raphaelle; Vedanayagam, Jeffrey; Wen, Jiayu; Smibert, Peter; Loppin, Benjamin; Lai, Eric C. (2018). "The hpRNA/RNAi Pathway is Essential to Resolve Intragenomic Conflict in the Drosophila Male Germline". Developmental Cell. 46 (3): 316–326.e5. doi:10.1016/j.devcel.2018.07.004. PMC 6114144. PMID 30086302.
  9. ^ De Carvalho, Antonio Bernardo; Klaczko, Louis Bernard (1993). "Autosomal suppressors of sex-ratio in Drosophila mediopunctata". Heredity. 71 (5): 546–51. doi:10.1038/hdy.1993.174. PMID 8276637.
  10. ^ Stalker, H. D. (1961). "The Genetic Systems Modifying Meiotic Drive in Drosophila Paramelanica". Genetics. 46 (2): 177–202. PMC 1210188. PMID 17248041.
  11. ^ Jaenike, J. (1999). "Suppression of Sex-Ratio Meiotic Drive and the Maintenance of Y-Chromosome Polymorphism in Drosophila". Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution. 53 (1): 164–174. doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.1999.tb05342.x. PMID 28565182.
  12. ^ Keais, G. L.; Hanson, M. A.; Gowen, B. E.; Perlman, S. J. (2017). "X chromosome drive in a widespread Palearctic woodland fly, Drosophila testacea". Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 30 (6): 1185–1194. doi:10.1111/jeb.13089. PMID 28402000.
  13. ^ Helleu, Quentin; Gérard, Pierre R.; Montchamp-Moreau, Catherine (2015). "Sex Chromosome Drive". Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology. 7 (2): a017616. doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a017616. PMC 4315933. PMID 25524548.