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Journal Articles The American Naturalist Year : 2013

On the genetic architecture of cytoplasmic incompatibility: inference from phenotypic data

Abstract

Numerous insects carry intracellular bacteria that manipulate the insects' reproduction and thus facilitate their own spread. Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) is a common form of such manipulation, where a (currently uncharacterized) bacterial modification of male sperm induces the early death of embryos unless the fertilized eggs carry the same bacteria, inherited from the mother. The death of uninfected embryos provides an indirect selective advantage to infected ones, thus enabling the spread of the bacteria. Here we use and expand recently developed algorithms to infer the genetic architecture underlying the complex incompatibility data from the mosquito Culex pipiens. We show that CI requires more genetic determinants than previously believed and that quantitative variation in gene products potentially contributes to the observed CI patterns. In line with population genetic theory of CI, our analysis suggests that toxin factors (those inducing embryo death) are present in fewer copies in the bacterial genomes than antitoxin factors (those ensuring that infected embryos survive). In combination with comparative genomics, our approach will provide helpful guidance to identify the genetic basis of CI and more generally of other toxin/antitoxin systems that can be conceptualized under the same framework.
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hal-00837003 , version 1 (21-06-2013)

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Igor Nor, Jan Engelstädter, Olivier Duron, Max Reuter, Marie-France Sagot, et al.. On the genetic architecture of cytoplasmic incompatibility: inference from phenotypic data. The American Naturalist, 2013, 182 (1), pp.15-24. ⟨10.1086/670612⟩. ⟨hal-00837003⟩
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