Biased transmission of sex chromosomes in the aphid Myzus persicae is not associated with reproductive mode

Wilson, ACCD, R. N.; Vorburger, C.,  PLOS One,  9:1-12. 2014.

Commonly, a single aphid species exhibits a wide range of reproductive strategies including cyclical parthenogenesis and obligate parthenogenesis. Sex determination in aphids is chromosomal; females have two X chromosomes, while males have one. X chromosome elimination at male production is generally random, resulting in equal representation of both X chromosomes in sons. However, two studies have demonstrated deviations from randomness in some lineages. One hypothesis to account for such deviations is that recessive deleterious mutations accumulate during bouts of asexual reproduction and affect male viability, resulting in overrepresentation of males with the least deleterious of the two maternal X chromosomes. This hypothesis results in a testable prediction: X chromosome transmission bias will increase with time spent in the asexual phase and should therefore be most extreme in the least sexual aphid life cycle class. Here we test this prediction in Myzus persicae. We used multiple heterozygous X-linked microsatellite markers to screen 1085 males from 95 lines of known life cycle. We found significant deviations from equal representation of X chromosomes in 15 lines; however, these lines included representatives of all life cycles. Our results are inconsistent with the hypothesis that deviations from randomness are attributable to mutation accumulation.