On the origin of meiotic reproduction: a genetic modifier model.
We study the conditions under which a rare allele that modifies the relative rates of meiotic reproduction and apomixis increases in a population in which meiotic reproduction entails selfing as well as random outcrossing. A distinct locus, at which mutation maintains alleles that are lethal in homozygous form, determines viability. We find that low viability of carriers of the lethal alleles, high rates of selfing, dominance of the introduced modifier allele, and lower rates of recombination promote the evolution of meiosis. Meiotic reproduction can evolve even in the absence of linkage between the modifier and the viability locus. The adaptive value of meiotic reproduction depends on the relative viabilities of offspring derived by meiosis and by apomixis, and on associations between the modifier and the viability locus. Meiotic reproduction, particularly under selfing, generates more diverse offspring, including those with very high and very low viability. Elimination of offspring with low viability generates positive associations between enhancers of meiotic reproduction and high viability. In addition, partial selfing generates positive associations in heterozygosity (identity disequilibrium) between the modifier and the viability locus, even in the absence of linkage. The two kinds of associations together can compensate for initial reductions in mean offspring viability under meiotic reproduction.
Uyenoyama, MK; Bengtsson, BO
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