Unexpected patterns of segregation distortion at a selfish supergene in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta

Ross, KGS, DeWayne,  BMC Genetics,  19:101. 2018.

The Sb supergene in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta determines the form of colony social organization, with colonies whose inhabitants bear the element containing multiple reproductive queens and colonies lacking it containing only a single queen. Several features of this supergene — including suppressed recombination, presence of deleterious mutations, association with a large centromere, and “green-beard” behavior — suggest that it may be a selfish genetic element that engages in transmission ratio distortion (TRD), defined as significant departures in progeny allele frequencies from Mendelian inheritance ratios. We tested this possibility by surveying segregation ratios in embryo progenies of 101 queens of the “polygyne” social form (3512 embryos) using three supergene-linked markers and twelve markers outside the supergene.