Local dynamics of a fast-evolving sex-ratio system in Drosophila simulans

Bastide, HG, P. R.; Ogereau, D.; Cazemajor, M.; Montchamp-Moreau, C.,  Molecular Ecology,  22:5352-5367. 2013.

By distorting Mendelian transmission to their own advantage, X-linked meiotic drive elements can rapidly spread in natural populations, generating a sex-ratio bias. One expected consequence is the triggering of a co-evolutionary arms race between the sex chromosome that carries the distorter and suppressors counteracting its effect. Such an arms race has been theoretically and experimentally established and can have many evolutionary consequences. However, its dynamics in contemporary populations is still poorly documented. Here, we investigate the fate of the young X-linked Paris driver in Drosophila simulans from sub-Saharan Africa to the Middle East. We provide the first example of the early dynamics of distorters and suppressors: we find consistent evidence that the driving chromosomes have been rising in the Middle East during the last decade. In addition, identical haplotypes are at high frequencies around the two co-evolving drive loci in remote populations, implying that the driving X chromosomes share a recent common ancestor and suggesting that East Africa could be the cradle of the Paris driver. The segmental duplication associated with drive presents an unusual structure in West Africa, which could reflect a secondary state of the driver. Together with our previous demonstration of driver decline in the Indian Ocean where suppression is complete, these data provide a unique picture of the complex dynamics of a co-evolutionary arms race currently taking place in natural populations of D.simulans.