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Journal Article

Mate choice among yeast gametes can purge deleterious mutations


Greig,  D.
Max-Planck Research Group Experimental Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Tazzyman, S. J., Seymour, R. M., Ponmiankowski, A., & Greig, D. (2012). Mate choice among yeast gametes can purge deleterious mutations. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 25(8), 1463-1471. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02539.x.

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Meiosis in Saccharomyces yeast produces four haploid gametes that usually fuse with each other, an extreme form of self-fertilization among the products of a single meiosis known as automixis. The gametes signal to each other with sex pheromone. Better-quality gametes produce stronger signals and are preferred as mates. We suggest that the function of this signalling system is to enable mate choice among the four gametes from a single meiosis and so to promote the clearance of deleterious mutations. To support this claim, we construct a mathematical model that shows that signalling during automixis (i) improves the long-term fitness of a yeast colony and (ii) lowers its mutational load. We also show that the benefit to signalling is greater with larger numbers of segregating mutations