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Gamete signalling underlies the evolution of mating types and their number

Pomiankowski, A; hadjivasiliou, Z; (2016) Gamete signalling underlies the evolution of mating types and their number. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences , 371 (1706) , Article 20150531. 10.1098/rstb.2015.0531. 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: Gamete signalling underlies the evolution of mating types and their number
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0531
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0531
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Ciliates, mating types, mate switching, sex determination, sex ratio, yeast.
UCL classification: UCL
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
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > London Centre for Nanotechnology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1503894
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