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The evolution of mating type switching

Hadjivasiliou, Z; Pomiankowski, A; Kuijper, B; (2016) The evolution of mating type switching. Evolution , 70 (7) pp. 1569-1581. 10.1111/evo.12959. Green open access

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Abstract

Predictions about the evolution of sex determination mechanisms have mainly focused on animals and plants, whereas unicellular eukaryotes such as fungi and ciliates have received little attention. Many taxa within the latter groups can stochastically switch their mating type identity during vegetative growth. Here, we investigate the hypothesis that mating type switching overcomes distortions in the distribution of mating types due to drift during asexual growth. Using a computational model, we show that smaller population size, longer vegetative periods and more mating types lead to greater distortions in the distribution of mating types. However, the impact of these parameters on optimal switching rates is not straightforward. We find that longer vegetative periods cause reductions and considerable fluctuations in the switching rate over time. Smaller population size increases the strength of selection for switching but has little impact on the switching rate itself. The number of mating types decreases switching rates when gametes can freely sample each other, but increases switching rates when there is selection for speedy mating. We discuss our results in light of empirical work and propose new experiments that could further our understanding of sexuality in isogamous eukaryotes.

Type: Article
Title: The evolution of mating type switching
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/evo.12959
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/evo.12959
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Society for the Study of Evolution. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Ciliates; mating types; mate switching; sex determination; sex ratio; yeast
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1568891
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