Invasion and persistence of a selfish gene in the Cnidaria

Goddard, Matthew, Leigh, J., Roger, A. J. and Pemberton, A. J. (2006) Invasion and persistence of a selfish gene in the Cnidaria. PLoS ONE, 1 (1). ISSN 1932-6203

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Invasion and persistence of a selfish gene in the Cnidaria
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Background. Homing endonuclease genes (HEGs) are superfluous, but are capable of invading populations that mix alleles by biasing their inheritance patterns through gene conversion. One model suggests that their long-term persistence is achieved through recurrent invasion. This circumvents evolutionary degeneration, but requires reasonable rates of transfer between species to maintain purifying selection. Although HEGs are found in a variety of microbes, we found the previous discovery of this type of selfish genetic element in the mitochondria of a sea anemone surprising. Methods/Principal Findings. We surveyed 29 species of Cnidaria for the presence of the COXI HEG. Statistical analyses provided evidence for HEG invasion. We also found that 96 individuals of Metridium senile, from five different locations in the UK, had identical HEG sequences. This lack of sequence divergence illustrates the stable nature of Anthozoan mitochondria. Our data suggests this HEG conforms to the recurrent invasion model of evolution. Conclusions. Ordinarily such low rates of HEG transfer would likely be insufficient to enable major invasion. However, the slow rate of Anthozoan mitochondrial change lengthens greatly the time to HEG degeneration: this significantly extends the periodicity of the HEG life-cycle. We suggest that a combination of very low substitution rates and rare transfers facilitated metazoan HEG invasion. © 2006 Goddard et al.

Keywords:cytochrome c oxidase, cytochrome c oxidase 1, gene product, homing endonuclease gene, mitochondrial DNA, unclassified drug, restriction endonuclease, article, coelenterate, conformational transition, controlled study, degeneration, fish genetics, gene frequency, gene sequence, gene transfer, genetic analysis, genetic conservation, genetic variability, nonhuman, nucleotide sequence, phylogeny, species invasion, animal, Bayes theorem, biological model, classification, enzymology, gene conversion, genetics, horizontal gene transfer, mitochondrial gene, molecular evolution, population genetics, sea anemone, species difference, United Kingdom, Actiniaria, Cnidaria, Metazoa, Metridium senile, Animals, DNA Restriction Enzymes, DNA, Mitochondrial, Electron Transport Complex IV, Evolution, Molecular, Gene Transfer, Horizontal, Genes, Mitochondrial, Genetics, Population, Great Britain, Models, Genetic, Sea Anemones
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C400 Genetics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:17161
Deposited On:09 Sep 2015 13:33

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