Sex-specific effects of sympatric mitonuclear variation on fitness in Drosophila subobscura
Kurbalija Novičić, Zorana
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Background: A number of recent studies have shown that the pattern of mitochondrial DNA variation and evolution is at odds with a neutral equilibrium model. Theory has suggested that selection on mitonuclear genotypes can act to maintain stable mitonuclear polymorphism within populations. However, this effect largely relies upon selection being either sex-specific or frequency dependent. Here, we use mitonuclear introgression lines to assess differences in a series of key life-history traits (egg-to-adult developmental time, viability, offspring sex-ratio, adult longevity and resistance to desiccation) in Drosophila subobscura fruit flies carrying one of three different sympatric mtDNA haplotypes. Results: We found functional differences between these sympatric mtDNA haplotypes, but these effects were contingent upon the nuclear genome with which they were co-expressed. Further, we demonstrate a significant mitonuclear genetic effect on adult sex ratio, as well as a sex x mtDNA x nuDNA interaction for adult longevity. Conclusions: The observed effects suggest that sex specific mitonuclear selection contributes to the maintenance of mtDNA polymorphism and to mitonuclear linkage disequilibrium in this model system.