“Selfish Genetic Elements” – Supergene Wreaks Havoc in a Genome

University of Rochester,  SciTechDaily,  2022.

“Selfish genetic elements” litter the human genome. They do not seem to benefit their hosts but instead seek only to propagate themselves. These selfish genetic elements can wreak havoc. For example, they can distort sex ratios, impair fertility, cause harmful mutations, and even potentially cause population extinction. Biologists have for the first time used population genomics to shed light on the evolution and consequences of a selfish genetic element known as Segregation Distorter (SD). These researchers at the University of Rochester, include Amanda Larracuente, an associate professor of biology, and Daven Presgraves, a University Dean’s Professor of Biology. In a paper published recently in the journal eLife, the scientists report that SD has caused dramatic changes in chromosome organization and genetic diversity.

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