Evolutionary theory predicts that natural selection should be less efficient in asexually than in sexually reproducing organisms. Obligate asexuals are expected to adapt slowly to changing environments and to accumulate mildly deleterious mutations to their genomes, potentially explaining their typically short evolutionary lifespans. One group of animals that appear to challenge these ideas is the bdelloid rotifers, a large and ancient clade of obligate asexuals. Previous work has found no evidence for inefficient selection against deleterious mutations in protein-coding genes of bdelloids. However, these studies relied mostly on between-species comparisons and were therefore unable to detect mildly deleterious mutations that persist within populations but are removed by selection over longer time periods. Here, we test for inefficient purifying selection acting on the cytochrome oxidase I (cox1) mitochondrial gene in 3 clades of bdelloids. Patterns of variation are compared to those of two facultatively sexual clades: a monogonont rotifer (Brachionus) and a branchiopod crustacean (Daphnia). As predicted due to the strict linkage between mitochondrial and nuclear genomes, bdelloids exhibit higher frequencies of putatively deleterious amino acid polymorphism within populations than the two facultatively sexual clades. While the monophyly and age of bdelloids makes it hard to rule out other explanations for the observed differences, several possible confounding factors, such as differences in effective population size or patterns of codon usage, are shown not to explain the observed differences. We therefore conclude that bdelloid mitochondrial DNA variation does display the signature of inefficient selection expected of obligate asexuals.

Evidence for inefficient selection against deleterious mutations in cytochrome oxidase I of asexual bdelloid rotifers / T.G. Barraclough, D. Fontaneto, C. Ricci, E.A. Herniou. - In: MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION. - ISSN 0737-4038. - 24:9(2007), pp. 1952-1962. [10.1093/molbev/msm123]

Evidence for inefficient selection against deleterious mutations in cytochrome oxidase I of asexual bdelloid rotifers

D. Fontaneto;C. Ricci;
2007

Abstract

Evolutionary theory predicts that natural selection should be less efficient in asexually than in sexually reproducing organisms. Obligate asexuals are expected to adapt slowly to changing environments and to accumulate mildly deleterious mutations to their genomes, potentially explaining their typically short evolutionary lifespans. One group of animals that appear to challenge these ideas is the bdelloid rotifers, a large and ancient clade of obligate asexuals. Previous work has found no evidence for inefficient selection against deleterious mutations in protein-coding genes of bdelloids. However, these studies relied mostly on between-species comparisons and were therefore unable to detect mildly deleterious mutations that persist within populations but are removed by selection over longer time periods. Here, we test for inefficient purifying selection acting on the cytochrome oxidase I (cox1) mitochondrial gene in 3 clades of bdelloids. Patterns of variation are compared to those of two facultatively sexual clades: a monogonont rotifer (Brachionus) and a branchiopod crustacean (Daphnia). As predicted due to the strict linkage between mitochondrial and nuclear genomes, bdelloids exhibit higher frequencies of putatively deleterious amino acid polymorphism within populations than the two facultatively sexual clades. While the monophyly and age of bdelloids makes it hard to rule out other explanations for the observed differences, several possible confounding factors, such as differences in effective population size or patterns of codon usage, are shown not to explain the observed differences. We therefore conclude that bdelloid mitochondrial DNA variation does display the signature of inefficient selection expected of obligate asexuals.
bdelloid rotifers ; asexual ; adaptation ; mutations ; population genetics
Settore BIO/05 - Zoologia
MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AND EVOLUTION
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/37789
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