New perspectives on the causes and consequences of male meiotic drive

Courret, Cécile Wei, Xiaolu Larracuente, Amanda M.,  Current Opinion in Genetics & Development,  2023.

Gametogenesis is vulnerable to selfish genetic elements that bias their transmission to the next generation by cheating meiosis. These so-called meiotic drivers are widespread in plants, animals, and fungi and can impact genome evolution. Here, we summarize recent progress on the causes and consequences of meiotic drive in males, where selfish elements attack vulnerabilities in spermatogenesis. Advances in genomics provide new insights into the organization and dynamics of driving chromosomes in natural populations. Common themes, including small RNAs, gene duplications, and heterochromatin, emerged from these studies. Interdisciplinary approaches combining evolutionary genomics with molecular and cell biology are beginning to unravel the mysteries of drive and suppression mechanisms. These approaches also provide insights into fundamental processes in spermatogenesis and chromatin regulation.

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