Keywords: selfish genetic elements

Gene drive in plants emerges from infancy

M. J. A. Awan, R. Z. Naqvi, I. Amin and S. Mansoor,  Trends in Plant Science,  2023.
Selfish genetic elements (SGEs) display biased transmission to offspring. However, their breeding potential has remained obscure. Wang et al. recently reported a natural gene-drive system that can be harnessed to prevent hybrid incompatibility and to develop a synthetic ...
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New perspectives on the causes and consequences of male meiotic drive

Courret, Cécile Wei, Xiaolu Larracuente, Amanda M.,  Current Opinion in Genetics & Development,  2023.
Gametogenesis is vulnerable to selfish genetic elements that bias their transmission to the next generation by cheating meiosis. These so-called meiotic drivers are widespread in plants, animals, and fungi and can impact genome evolution. Here, we summarize recent progress on the ...
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The role of conflict in shaping plant biodiversity

J. M. Coughlan,  New Phytologist,  2023.
Although intrinsic postzygotic reproductive barriers can play a fundamental role in speciation, their underlying evolutionary causes are widely debated. One hypothesis is that incompatibilities result from genomic conflicts. Here, I synthesize the evidence that conflict generates ...
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Proliferation and dissemination of killer meiotic drive loci

E. C. Lai and A. A. Vogan,  Current Opinion in Genetics and Development,  82:102100. 2023.
Killer meiotic drive elements are selfish genetic entities that manipulate the sexual cycle to promote their own inheritance via destructive means. Two broad classes are sperm killers, typical of animals and plants, and spore killers, which are present in ascomycete fungi. Killer ...
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Impacts of sex ratio meiotic drive on genome structure and function in a stalk-eyed fly

J. A. Reinhardt, R. H. Baker, A. V. Zimin, C. Ladias, K. A. Paczolt, J. H. Werren, C. Y. Hayashi and G. S. Wilkinson,  Genome Biology Evolution,  2023.
Stalk-eyed flies in the genus Teleopsis carry selfish genetic elements that induce sex ratio meiotic drive (SR) and impact the fitness of male and female carriers. Here, we assemble and describe a chromosome-level genome assembly of the stalk-eyed fly, Teleopsis dalmanni, to ...
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Cell biology: Selfish B chromosomes unleashed by a dysfunctional chromosome segregation system

P. Ferree,  Current Biology,  33:R431-R434. 2023.
A study in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster shows that a defective chromosome segregation system allows non-essential B chromosomes to transmit at higher-than-Mendelian frequencies.
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Cell biology: Selfish B chromosomes unleashed by a dysfunctional chromosome segregation system

P. Ferree,  Current Biology,  33:R431-R434. 2023.
A study in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster shows that a defective chromosome segregation system allows non-essential B chromosomes to transmit at higher-than-Mendelian frequencies. Higher eukaryotes harbor a range of different selfish genetic elements (SGEs). One type of ...
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Adaptation in the face of internal conflict: the paradox of the organism revisited

M. M. Patten, M. A. Schenkel and J. A. Ågren,  Biological Reviews,  2023.
The paradox of the organism refers to the observation that organisms appear to function as coherent purposeful entities, despite the potential for within-organismal components like selfish genetic elements and cancer cells to erode them from within. While it is commonly accepted ...
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A gene drive is a gene drive: the debate over lumping or splitting definitions

S. L. James, D. A. O'Brochta, F. Randazzo and O. Akbari,  Nature Communications,  2023.
Gene drive technologies are being considered as a new approach to address a variety of currently intractable global problems, including to prevent disease transmission, reduce crop loss, and preserve biodiversity1. There are some outside the genetics research community who argue ...
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Expansion and loss of sperm nuclear basic protein genes in Drosophila correspond with genetic conflicts between sex chromosomes

C.-H. Chang, I. Mejia Natividad and H. S. Malik,  eLife,  12:e85249. 2023.
Many animal species employ sperm nuclear basic proteins (SNBPs) or protamines to package sperm genomes tightly. SNBPs vary across animal lineages and evolve rapidly in mammals. We used a phylogenomic approach to investigate SNBP diversification in Drosophila species. We found ...
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Complicated expansion trajectories of insertion sequences and potential association with horizontal transfer of Wolbachia DNA

Y. H. Miao, D. W. Huang and J. H. Xiao,  Zoological Research,  44:273-275. 2023.
Insertion sequences (ISs) are the simplest structural transposable elements (TEs) in prokaryotes, consisting only of a transposase coding sequence and its bilateral short terminal inverted repeats. Due to their gradually streamlined genomic construction, TEs rarely exist in the ...
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P-element invasions in Drosophila erecta; shed light on the establishment of host control over a transposable element

D. Selvaraju, F. Wierzbicki and R. Kofler,  bioRxiv,  2022.12.22.521571. 2022.
To prevent the spread of transposable elements (TEs) hosts have developed sophisticated defence mechanisms. In mammals and invertebrates this defence mechanism operates through piRNAs. It is unclear how piRNA-based defences are established against invading TEs. According to the ...
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Meiotic transmission patterns of additional genomic elements in Brachionus asplanchnoidis, a rotifer with intraspecific genome size variation

J. Blommaert and C.-P. Stelzer,  Scientific Reports,  12:20900. 2022.
Intraspecific genome size (GS) variation in Eukaryotes is often mediated by additional, nonessential genomic elements. Physically, such additional elements may be represented by supernumerary (B-)chromosomes or by large heterozygous insertions into the regular chromosome set. ...
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119-Million-Year-Old “Selfish” Genes Uncovered in Yeast

Stowers Institute for Medical Research,  Technology Networks,  2022.
Meiotic drivers, a type of selfish gene, are indeed selfish. Present in the genomes of nearly all species, including humans, they unfairly transfer their genetic material to more than half of their offspring, sometimes leading to infertility, and decreased organism health. ...
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The wtf meiotic driver gene family has unexpectedly persisted for over 100 million years

M. De Carvalho, G. S. Jia, A. Nidamangala Srinivasa, R. B. Billmyre, Y. H. Xu, J. J. Lange, I. M. Sabbarini, L. L. Du and S. E. Zanders,  eLife,  11. 2022.
Meiotic drivers are selfish elements that bias their own transmission into more than half of the viable progeny produced by a driver+/driver- heterozygote. Meiotic drivers are thought to exist for relatively short evolutionary timespans because a driver gene or gene family is ...
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On the Mechanistic Basis of Killer Meiotic Drive in Fungi

S. J. Saupe and H. Johannesson,  Annual Review of Microbiology,  76:305-323. 2022.
Spore killers are specific genetic elements in fungi that kill sexual spores that do not contain them. A range of studies in the last few years have provided the long-awaited first insights into the molecular mechanistic aspects of spore killing in different fungal models, ...
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Reflection on the Challenges, Accomplishments, and New Frontiers of Gene Drives

M. Melesse Vergara, J. Labbé and J. Tannous,  BioDesign Research,  2022:9853416. 2022.
Ongoing pest and disease outbreaks pose a serious threat to human, crop, and animal lives, emphasizing the need for constantgenetic discoveries that could serve as mitigation strategies. Gene drives are genetic engineering approaches discovered decadesago that may allow quick, ...
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Non-Mendelian transmission of accessory chromosomes in fungi

J. Komluski, E. H. Stukenbrock and M. Habig,  Chromosome Research,  2022.
Non-Mendelian transmission has been reported for various genetic elements, ranging from small transposons to entire chromosomes. One prime example of such a transmission pattern are B chromosomes in plants and animals. Accessory chromosomes in fungi are similar to B chromosomes ...
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“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 ...
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What can we learn from selfish loci that break Mendel’s law?

S. E. Zanders,  PLOS Biology,  20:e3001700. 2022.
Mendel’s law of segregation provides a critical foundation for genetic inquiry It is not, however, without exceptions Historically, 2 such exceptions (sex chromosome linkage and chromosome missegregation in meiosis) were used by Drosophila geneticists to help demonstrate ...
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A Toxin-Antidote Selfish Element Increases Fitness of its Host

L. Long, W. Xu, A. B. Paaby and P. T. McGrath,  bioRxiv,  2022.07.15.500229. 2022.
Selfish genetic elements can promote their transmission at the expense of individual survival, creating conflict between the element and the rest of the genome. Recently, a large number of toxin-antidote (TA) post-segregation distorters have been identified in non-obligate ...
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Iterative evolution of supergene-based social polymorphism in ants

T. Kay, Q. Helleu and L. Keller,  Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci,  377:20210196. 2022.
Species commonly exhibit alternative morphs, with individual fate being determined during development by either genetic factors, environmental cues or a combination thereof. Ants offer an interesting case study because many species are polymorphic in their social structure. Some ...
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Supergene potential of a selfish centromere

F. Finseth, K. Brown, A. Demaree and L. Fishman,  Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci,  377:20210208. 2022.
Selfishly evolving centromeres bias their transmission by exploiting the asymmetry of female meiosis and preferentially segregating to the egg. Such female meiotic drive systems have the potential to be supergenes, with multiple linked loci contributing to drive costs or ...
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Non-Mendelian segregation and transmission drive of B chromosomes

J. P. M. Camacho,  Chromosome Research,  2022.
Selfish genetic elements (SGE) get a transmission advantage (drive) thanks to their non-Mendelian inheritance. Here I identify eight steps during the reproductive cycle that can be subverted by SGEs to thrive in natural populations. Even though only three steps occur during ...
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Evolution of eukaryotic centromeres by drive and suppression of selfish genetic elements

T. Kumon and M. A. Lampson,  Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology,  2022.
Despite the universal requirement for faithful chromosome segregation, eukaryotic centromeres are rapidly evolving. It is hypothesized that rapid centromere evolution represents an evolutionary arms race between selfish genetic elements that drive, or propagate at the expense of ...
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Genetic Drive Systems in Nature

David O'Brochta and Hector Quemada,  GeneConvene Global Collaborative,  2022.
Intra genomic genetic conflicts are ubiquitous in nature and have shaped and continue to shape the evolution of plants, animals, and microbes. These conflicts can result in preferential transmission - drive - of genes, various genetic elements, and even whole chromosomes. ...
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Endosymbionts moderate constrained sex allocation in a haplodiploid thrips species in a temperature-sensitive way

A. Katlav, D. T. Nguyen, J. L. Morrow, R. N. Spooner-Hart and M. Riegler,  Heredity,  9. 2022.
Maternally inherited bacterial endosymbionts that affect host fitness are common in nature. Some endosymbionts colonise host populations by reproductive manipulations (such as cytoplasmic incompatibility; CI) that increase the reproductive fitness of infected over uninfected ...
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Gene drive that results in addiction to a temperature-sensitive version of an essential gene triggers population collapse in Drosophila

G. Oberhofer, T. Ivy and B. A. Hay,  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,  118:e2107413118. 2021.
One strategy for population suppression seeks to use gene drive to spread genes that confer conditional lethality or sterility, providing a way of combining population modification with suppression. Stimuli of potential interest could be introduced by humans, such as an otherwise ...
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Molecular Mechanisms and Evolutionary Consequences of Spore Killers in Ascomycetes

S. Zanders and H. Johannesson,  Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews,  2021.
In this review, we examine the fungal spore killers. These are meiotic drive elements that cheat during sexual reproduction to increase their transmission into the next generation. Spore killing has been detected in a number of ascomycete genera, including Podospora, Neurospora, ...
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A Maternal-Effect Toxin Affects Epithelial Differentiation and Tissue Mechanics in Caenorhabditis elegans

C. Lehmann and C. Pohl,  Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology,  9. 2021.
Selfish genetic elements that act as post-segregation distorters cause lethality in non-carrier individuals after fertilization. Two post-segregation distorters have been previously identified in Caenorhabditis elegans, the peel-1/zeel-1 and the sup-35/pha-1 elements. These ...
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Meiotic self-pairing of the Psalidodon (Characiformes, Characidae) iso-B chromosome: A successful perpetuation mechanism

D. Silva, C. Araya-Jaime, M. Yamashita, M. R. Vidal, C. Oliveira, F. Porto-Foresti, R. F. Artoni and F. Foresti,  Genetics and Molecular Biology,  44:e20210084. 2021.
B chromosomes are non-essential additional genomic elements present in several animal and plant species. In fishes, species of the genus Psalidodon (Characiformes, Characidae) harbor great karyotype diversity, and multiple populations carry different types of non-essential B ...
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Evolutionary robustness of killer meiotic drives

P. G. Madgwick and J. B. Wolf,  Evolution Letters,  2021.
A meiotic driver is a selfish genetic element that interferes with the process of meiosis to promote its own transmission. The most common mechanism of interference is gamete killing, where the meiotic driver kills gametes that do not contain it. A killer meiotic driver is ...
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Unravelling the mystery of female meiotic drive: where we are

F. E. Clark and T. Akera,  Open Biol,  11:210074. 2021.
Female meiotic drive is the phenomenon where a selfish genetic element alters chromosome segregation during female meiosis to segregate to the egg and transmit to the next generation more frequently than Mendelian expectation. While several examples of female meiotic drive have ...
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Parallel pathways for recruiting effector proteins determine centromere drive and suppression

T. Kumon, J. Ma, R. B. Akins, D. Stefanik, C. E. Nordgren, J. Kim, M. T. Levine and M. A. Lampson,  Cell,  2021.
Selfish centromere DNA sequences bias their transmission to the egg in female meiosis. Evolutionary theory suggests that centromere proteins evolve to suppress costs of this "centromere drive." In hybrid mouse models with genetically different maternal and paternal centromeres, ...
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Haldane’s duel: intragenomic conflict, selfish Y chromosomes and speciation

S. W. Roy,  Trends in Genetics,  2021.
Haldane?s rule, which states that the heterogametic sex (XY or ZW females) fares more poorly in interspecific hybrids, is generally attributed to absence of one of the two species' X/Z chromosomes. However, Haldane?s rule is also observed in mouse placentas despite paternal X ...
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Researchers report reference genome for maize B chromosome

Chinese Academy of Sciences,  Phys Org,  2021.
Three groups recently reported a reference sequence for the supernumerary B chromosome in maize in a study published online in PNAS. Dr. James Birchler's group from University of Missouri, Dr. Jan Barto's group from Institute of Experimental Botany of the Czech Academy of ...
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Mechanistically comparing reproductive manipulations caused by selfish chromosomes and bacterial symbionts

E. Dalla Benetta, O. S. Akbari and P. M. Ferree,  Heredity,  126:707-716. 2021.
Insects naturally harbor a broad range of selfish agents that can manipulate their reproduction and development, often leading to host sex ratio distortion. Such effects directly benefit the spread of the selfish agents. These agents include two broad groups: bacterial symbionts ...
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Invasion and maintenance of meiotic drivers in populations of ascomycete fungi

I. Martinossi-Allibert, C. Veller, S. L. Ament-Velasquez, A. A. Vogan, C. Rueffler and H. Johannesson,  Evolution,  20. 2021.
Meiotic drivers (MDs) are selfish genetic elements that are able to become overrepresented among the products of meiosis. This transmission advantage makes it possible for them to spread in a population even when they impose fitness costs on their host organisms. Whether an MD ...
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X-linked meiotic drive can boost population size and persistence

C. Mackintosh, A. Pomiankowski and M. F. Scott,  Genetics,  217:11. 2020.
Here, we find general conditions for the spread and fixation of X-linked alleles. Our conditions show that the spread of X-linked alleles depends on sex-specific selection and transmission rather than the time spent in each sex. Applying this logic to meiotic drive, we show that ...
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Mosquito genomes are frequently invaded by transposable elements through horizontal transfer

E. S. de Melo and G. L. Wallau,  PLOS Genetics,  16:e1008946. 2020.
We characterized the whole TE content of 24 mosquito genomes and investigated the TE inheritance mode uncovering hundreds of horizontal transfer events among these species and distantly related ones. We also identify a mosquito parasitic filarial worm, th
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Sequence analysis in Bos taurus reveals pervasiveness of X–Y arms races in mammalian lineages

J. F. Hughes, H. Skaletsky, T. Pyntikova, N. Koutseva, T. Raudsepp, L. G. Brown, D. W. Bellott, T.-J. Cho, S. Dugan-Rocha, Z. Khan, C. Kremitzki, C. Fronick, T. A. Graves-Lindsay, L. Fulton, W. C. Warren, R. K. Wilson, E. Owens, J. E. Womack, W. J. Murphy,  Genome Research,  2020.
Here, we provide evidence that suppression of X–Y crossing-over unleashed a second dynamic: selfish X–Y arms races that reshaped the sex chromosomes in mammals as different as cattle, mice, and men. Using super-resolution sequencing, we explore the Y Chromosome of Bos taurus ...
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The bull Y chromosome has evolved to bully its way into gametes

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research,  Phys Org,  2020.
In a new study, published Nov. 18 in the journal Genome Research, scientists in the lab of Whitehead Institute Member David Page present the first ever full, high-resolution sequence of the Y chromosome of a Hereford bull. The research, more than a decade in the making, suggests ...
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Resistance to natural and synthetic gene drive systems

T. A. R. Price, N. Windbichler, R. L. Unckless, A. Sutter, J.-N. Runge, P. A. Ross, A. Pomiankowski, N. L. Nuckolls, C. Montchamp-Moreau, N. Mideo, O. Y. Martin, A. Manser, M. Legros, A. M. Larracuente, L. Holman, J. Godwin, N. Gemmell, C. Courret, A. Buc,  Journal of Evolutionary Biology,  2020.
This review summarizes our current knowledge of drive resistance in both natural and synthetic gene drives. We explore how insights from naturally occurring and synthetic drive systems can be integrated to improve the design of gene drives, better predict the outcome of releases ...
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Autosomal suppression and fitness costs of an old driving X chromosome in Drosophila testacea

G. Keais, S. Lu and S. Perlman,  Journal of Evolutionary Biology,  2020.
Driving X chromosomes (XDs) are meiotic drivers that bias their own transmission through males by killing Y-bearing gametes. These chromosomes can in theory spread rapidly in populations and cause extinction, but many are found as balanced polymorphisms or as ?cryptic? XDs shut ...
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An X-linked meiotic drive allele has strong, recessive fitness costs in female Drosophila pseudoobscura

W. Larner, T. Price, L. Holman and N. Wedell,  Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences,  286:9. 2019.
Selfish 'meiotic drive' alleles are transmitted to more than 50% of offspring, allowing them to rapidly invade populations even if they reduce the fitness of individuals carrying them. Theory predicts that drivers should either fix or go extinct, yet some drivers defy these ...
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B chromosome first—mechanisms behind the drive of B chromosomes uncovered

Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research,  Phy Org,  2019.
The specific number of chromosomes is one of the defining characteristics of a species. Whilst the common fruit fly carries 8 chromosomes, the genome of bread wheat counts 42 chromosomes. In comparison, the human genome is made out of a total of 46 chromosomes. However, about 15% ...
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The toxin–antidote model of cytoplasmic incompatibility: Genetics and evolutionary implications

Beckmann, JFB, Manon; Chen, Hongli; Hochstrasser, Mark; Poinsot, Denis; Merçot, Hervé; Weill, Mylène; Sicard, Mathieu; Charlat, Sylvain,  Trends in Genetics,  35:175-185. 2019.
Wolbachia bacteria inhabit the cells of about half of all arthropod species, an unparalleled success stemming in large part from selfish invasive strategies. Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI), whereby the symbiont makes itself essential to embryo viability, is the most common of ...
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Rapid comeback of males: evolution of male-killer suppression in a green lacewing population

Hayashi, MN, M.; Kageyama, D.,  Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences,  285:6. 2018.
Evolutionary theory predicts that the spread of cytoplasmic sex ratio distorters leads to the evolution of host nuclear suppressors, although there are extremely few empirical observations of this phenomenon. Here, we demonstrate that a nuclear suppressor of a cytoplasmic male ...
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Strong hybrid male incompatibilities impede the spread of a selfish chromosome between populations of a fly

Verspoor Rudi, LSJ, M. L.; Mannion Natasha, L. M.; Hurst Gregory, D. D.; Price Tom, A. R.,  Evolution Letters,  2:169-179. 2018.
Meiotically driving sex chromosomes manipulate gametogenesis to increase their transmission at a cost to the rest of the genome. The intragenomic conflicts they produce have major impacts on the ecology and evolution of their host species. However, their ecological dynamics ...
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B chromosomes and genome size in flowering plants

Trivers, RB, A.; Palestis, B. G.,  Genome,  47:1-8. 2004.
B chromosomes are extra chromosomes found in some, but not all, individuals within a species, often maintained by giving themselves an advantage in transmission, i.e. they drive. Here we show that the presence of B chromosomes correlates to and varies strongly and positively with ...
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