The evolution of lethals in the t-haplotype system of the mouse

Charlesworth, B,  Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences,  258:101-107. 1994.

The evolution of lethal haplotypes in the t-haplotype segregation distortion system of Mus is examined by mathematical and computer models. The models assume that there is reproductive compensation for the loss of lethal embryos, such that the net reproductive success of a female is not reduced in proportion to the frequency of lethal offspring which she produces. The initial population consists of a mixture of wildtype and homozygous male-sterile t-haplotypes. The failure of sterile males to reproduce may cause a higher fitness cost to mothers heterozygous for t-haplotypes than does elimination of a recessive lethal. Under certain conditions, a recessive lethal will spread and come to a polymorphic equilibrium. Wildtype, lethal and non-lethal haplotypes are all present at this equilibrium. Ifa second lethal mutation arises on a non-lethal t-haplotype in such an equilibrium population, it will increase in frequency and eventually displace the non-lethal t-haplotypes. A third lethal t-haplotype introduced at a low frequency into an equilibrium with two lethals can sometimes be selected for, although this is less likely if compensation is strong. The theoretical predictions are compared with data on natural populations.