Journal Article

Analyses of Nuclearly Encoded Mitochondrial Genes Suggest Gene Duplication as a Mechanism for Resolving Intralocus Sexually Antagonistic Conflict in Drosophila

Miguel Gallach, Chitra Chandrasekaran and Esther Betrán

in Genome Biology and Evolution

Published on behalf of Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

Volume 2, issue , pages 835-850
Published in print January 2010 |
Published online October 2010 | e-ISSN: 1759-6653 | DOI:

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Gene duplication is probably the most important mechanism for generating new gene functions. However, gene duplication has been overlooked as a potentially effective way to resolve genetic conflicts. Here, we analyze the entire set of Drosophila melanogaster nuclearly encoded mitochondrial duplicate genes and show that both RNA- and DNA-mediated mitochondrial gene duplications exhibit an unexpectedly high rate of relocation (change in location between parental and duplicated gene) as well as an extreme tendency to avoid the X chromosome. These trends are likely related to our observation that relocated genes tend to have testis-specific expression. We also infer that these trends hold across the entire Drosophila genus. Importantly, analyses of gene ontology and functional interaction networks show that there is an overrepresentation of energy production-related functions in these mitochondrial duplicates. We discuss different hypotheses to explain our results and conclude that our findings substantiate the hypothesis that gene duplication for male germline function is likely a mechanism to resolve intralocus sexually antagonistic conflicts that we propose are common in testis. In the case of nuclearly encoded mitochondrial duplicates, our hypothesis is that past sexually antagonistic conflict related to mitochondrial energy function in Drosophila was resolved by gene duplication.

Keywords: nuclearly encoded mitochondrial functions; gene duplication; male-specific expression; intralocus sexual antagonism

Journal Article.  10104 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Bioinformatics and Computational Biology ; Evolutionary Biology ; Genetics and Genomics

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