Driving lessons: a brief (personal) history of centromere drive

H. S. Malik,  Genetics,  2022.

Meiosis is an important specialized cell division in many eukaryotic species, including fungi, plants, and animals. Meiosis results in the production of haploid gametes starting from a diploid cell via 1 round of replication and 2 rounds of cell division. In an influential article published in 1957, Sandler and Novitski first pointed out that meiosis is also an intense battleground, in which gametes vie for evolutionary supremacy with each other, often poisoning their competition to gain a fratricidal advantage (Sandler and Novitski 1957). This competition, which they termed “meiotic drive,” operates as an evolutionary force that can cause an increase in frequency of the allele that is favored during meiotic transmission. Unlike alleles that rise in frequency because they confer a fitness advantage to their carriers, meiotic drivers can rise in frequency even while conferring significant fitness disadvantages on their carriers. Thus, meiotic drivers can be viewed as the quintessential selfish genes; it is the best interest of the rest of the genome to counteract their action to restore organismal fitness.

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