The meiotic drive system on maize abnormal chromosome 10 contains few essential genes

Hiatt, END, R. K.,  Genetica,  117:67-76. 2003.

In maize, a distal portion of abnormal chromosome 10 (Ab10) causes the meiotic drive of itself as well as many unlinked heterochromatic regions known as knobs. The Ab10 drive system, which encodes trans- as well as cis-acting components, occupies a large region of chromosome 10L equivalent to similar to3% of the genome. Here we describe five new structural mutations of Ab10 (five deletions and a duplication) that arose from a screen for meiotic drive mutants. The high frequency of breakage events, detected both genetically and cytologically, suggest that the chromosome may be especially unstable. Very large deletions within the drive system are female-transmissible and plants homozygous for deficiencies lacking much of this interval can be grown to maturity. The data suggest that few genes required for normal growth and development lie within the portion of Ab10 responsible for meiotic drive. These and other published data suggest that meiotic drive systems tend to evolve in gene-sparse or otherwise information-poor regions of the genome where they are less likely to negatively affect individual fitness.