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Publication Detail
Mother’s curse is pervasive across a large mito-nuclearDrosophilapanel
The maternal inheritance of mitochondrial genomes entails a sex-specific selective sieve, whereby mutations in mitochondrial DNA can only respond to selection acting directly on females. In theory, this enables male-harming mutations to accumulate in mitochondrial genomes if they are neutral, beneficial, or only slightly deleterious to females. Ultimately, this bias could drive the evolution of male-specific mitochondrial mutation loads, an idea known as mother’s curse. Earlier work on this hypothesis has mainly used small Drosophila panels, in which naturally-sourced mitochondrial genomes were coupled to an isogenic nuclear background. However, the lack of nuclear genetic variation has precluded robust generalization. Here we test the predictions of mother’s curse using a large Drosophila mito-nuclear genetic panel, comprising 9 isogenic nuclear genomes coupled to 9 mitochondrial haplotypes, giving a total of 81 different mito-nuclear genotypes. This enables systematic testing of both mito-nuclear interactions and mitochondrial genetic variance. Following a predictive framework, we performed a screen for wing centroid size, as this trait is highly sexually dimorphic and depends on metabolic function. We confirmed that the trait is sexually dimorphic, and show high levels of mito-nuclear epistasis. Importantly, we report that mitochondrial genetic variance has a greater impact on male versus female Drosophila , in 8 out of the 9 nuclear genetic backgrounds. These results demonstrate that the maternal inheritance of mitochondrial DNA does indeed modulate male life-history traits in a more generalisable way than previously envisaged.
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