Selective microspore abortion correlated with aneuploidy: an indication of meiotic drive

Furness, CAR, P. J.,  Sexual Plant Reproduction,  24:1-8. 2011.

Selective megaspore abortion (monomegaspory) probably arose once in seed plants and occurs routinely in more than 70% of angiosperm species, representing one of the key characters of a heterosporous life history. In contrast, selective microspore abortion leading to pollen dispersal as pseudomonads (here termed monomicrospory) apparently arose at least twice independently within angiosperms, though it occurs in a limited number of taxa. Remarkably, similar examples of monomicrospory occur in members of two distantly related angiosperm families: the sedge family (Cyperaceae) and the epacrid subfamily (Styphelioideae) of the eudicot family Ericaceae. In sedges, monomicrospory is derived directly from normal tetrads, whereas epacrid pseudomonads apparently evolved via an intermediate stage, in which variable sterility occurs in a single tetrad. Our comparison of these two examples of selective microspore abortion highlights a correlation with aneuploidy, indicating that non-random chromosome segregation caused by monomicrospory could drive chromosomal mutations to rapid fixation through meiotic drive.