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Genome Elimination Mediated by Gene Expression from a Selfish Chromosome

By Elena Dalla Benetta, Igor Antoshechkin, Ting Yang, Hoa Quang My Nguyen, Patrick M. Ferree, Omar S Akbari

Posted 04 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/793273

Numerous plants and animals harbor selfish B chromosomes that drive, or transmit themselves at higher-than-Mendelian frequencies, despite long-term fitness costs to the organism. Currently it is unknown how B chromosome drive is mediated, and whether B-gene expression plays a role. We used modern sequencing technologies to analyze the fine-scale sequence composition and expression of Paternal Sex Ratio (PSR), a B chromosome in the jewel wasp Nasonia vitripennis. PSR causes female-to-male conversion by destroying the sperms hereditary material in young embryos in order to drive. Using RNA interference, we show that testis-specific expression of a PSR-linked gene, named haploidizer, facilitates this genome elimination-and-sex conversion effect. Haploidizer shares homology with a gene in Candidatus cardinium, a bacterial symbiont that also induces genome elimination in its insect host.

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