Male-driven evolution of mitochondrial and chloroplastidial DNA sequences in plants.
Whittle CA, Johnston MO
Molecular Biology and Evolution (2002)
Category: evolution, mitochondria-evolution, mitochondria-inheritance ¤ Added: Jun 24, 2006 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
Although there is substantial evidence that, in animals, male-inherited neutral DNA evolves at a higher rate than female-inherited DNA, the relative evolutionary rate of male- versus female-inherited DNA has not been investigated in plants. We compared the substitution rates at neutral sites of maternally and paternally inherited organellar DNA in gymnosperms. The analysis provided substantial support for the presence of a higher evolutionary rate in both the mitochondrial and chloroplastidial DNA when the organelle was inherited paternally than when inherited maternally. These results suggest that, compared with eggs, sperm tend to carry a greater number of mutations in mitochondrial and chloroplastidial DNA. The existence of a male mutation bias in plants is remarkable because, unlike animals, the germ-lines are not separated from the somatic cells throughout an individual's lifetime. The data therefore suggest that even a brief period of male and female germ-line separation can cause gender-specific mutation rates. These results are the first to show that, at least in some species, germ-lines influence the number of mutations carried in the gametes. Possible causes of male mutation bias in plants are discussed.