The existence of sexually antagonistic (SA) polymorphism is widely considered the most likely explanation for the evolution of suppressed recombination of sex chromosome pairs. This explanation is largely untested empirically, and no such polymorphisms have been identified, other than in fish, where no evidence directly implicates these genes in events causing loss of recombination. We tested for the presence of loci with SA polymorphism in the plant Silene latifolia, which is dioecious (with separate male and female individuals) and has a pair of highly heteromorphic sex chromosomes, with XY males. Suppressed recombination between much of the Y and X sex chromosomes evolved in several steps, and the results in Bergero et al. (2013) show that it is still ongoing in the recombining or pseudoautosomal, regions (PARs) of these chromosomes. We used molecular evolutionary approaches to test for the footprints of SA polymorphisms, based on sequence diversity levels in S. latifolia PAR genes identified by genetic mapping. Nucleotide diversity is high for at least four of six PAR genes identified, and our data suggest the existence of polymorphisms maintained by balancing selection in this genome region, since molecular evolutionary (HKA) tests exclude an elevated mutation rate, and other tests also suggest balancing selection. The presence of sexually antagonistic alleles at a locus or loci in the PAR is suggested by the very different X and Y chromosome allele frequencies for at least one PAR gene.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Print publication - Jul 2013|