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Publication Detail
Positive selection on mitochondria may eliminate heritable microbes from arthropod populations
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Fenton A, Camus MF, Hurst GDD
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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  • Keywords:
    mitochondria, population genetics, symbiosis
  • Notes:
    © 2021 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited
Diverse eukaryotic taxa carry facultative heritable symbionts, microbes that are passed from mother to offspring. These symbionts are coinherited with mitochondria, and selection favouring either new symbionts, or new symbiont variants, is known to drive loss of mitochondrial diversity as a correlated response. More recently, evidence has accumulated of episodic directional selection on mitochondria, but with currently unknown consequences for symbiont evolution. We therefore employed a population genetic mean field framework to model the impact of selection on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) upon symbiont frequency for three generic scenarios of host-symbiont interaction. Our models predict that direct selection on mtDNA can drive symbionts out of the population where a positively selected mtDNA mutation occurs initially in an individual that is uninfected with the symbiont, and the symbiont is initially at low frequency. When, by contrast, the positively selected mtDNA mutation occurs in a symbiont-infected individual, the mutation becomes fixed and in doing so removes symbiont variation from the population. We conclude that the molecular evolution of symbionts and mitochondria, which has previously been viewed from a perspective of selection on symbionts driving the evolution of a neutral mtDNA marker, should be reappraised in the light of positive selection on mtDNA.
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