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Meiotic drive in fungi: Chromosomal elements that cause fratricide and distort genetic ratios

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Fungal Spore killers (Sk), studied most extensively inNeurospora and to a lesser extent inPodospora, Gibberella andCochliobolus, cause the death of ascospores (= meiospores) that do not contain the killer (Skk) element. When a Spore killer is heterozygous (SkK× Sks) inNeurospora, every ascus (= meiocyte) contains four normal-sized, black, viable ascospores (SkK), and four ascospores that are tiny, unpigmented and unviable (SKs). Killing of sensitive nuclei is expressed postmeiotically, and results in gross distortion of segregation ratios forSk-linked genes. A sensitive nucleus that would otherwise die is rescued if a killer nucleus is also enclosed in the same ascospore. InNeurospora, Sk is centromere-linked (linkage group III), and when heterozygous, shows a recombination block in a 30-map-unit region spanning the centromere of linkage group III. There is no ascospore death or recombination block in killer×killer or sensitive×sensitive crosses. Spore killers are fairly common inGibberella fujikuroi andNeurospora sitophila but extremely rare inN. intermedia, and have not yet been found among natural isolates ofN. crassa.

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Correspondence to Namboori B. Raju.

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Raju, N.B. Meiotic drive in fungi: Chromosomal elements that cause fratricide and distort genetic ratios. J. Genet. 75, 287 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02966309

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  • Meiotic drive
  • fungal Spore killers
  • ascospore death
  • heterokaryotic rescue
  • recombination block