Testing a candidate meiotic drive locus identified by pool sequencing

D. A. Barbash, B. Jin, K. H. C. Wei and A.-M. Dion-Côté,  G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics,  2023.

Meiotic drive biases the transmission of alleles in heterozygous individuals, such that Mendel’s law of equal segregation is violated. Most examples of meiotic drive have been discovered over the past century based on causing sex-ratio distortion or the biased transmission of easily scoreable genetic markers that were linked to drive alleles. More recently, several approaches have been developed that attempt to identify distortions of Mendelian segregation genome-wide. Here we test a candidate female meiotic drive locus in Drosophila melanogaster, identified previously as causing a ∼54:46 distortion ratio using sequencing of large pools of backcross progeny. We inserted fluorescent visible markers near the candidate locus and scored transmission in thousands of individual progeny. We observed a small but significant deviation from the Mendelian expectation, however it was in the opposite direction to that predicted based on the original experiments. We discuss several possible causes of the discrepancy between the two approaches, noting that subtle viability effects are particularly challenging to disentangle from potential small-effect meiotic drive loci. We conclude that pool sequencing approaches remain a powerful method to identify candidate meiotic drive loci, but that genotyping of individual progeny at early developmental stages may be required for robust confirmation.


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