Rainfall-driven sex-ratio genes in African buffalo suggested by correlations between Y-chromosomal haplotype frequencies and foetal sex ratio
Hooft, W.F. van; Prins, H.H.T. ; Getz, W.M. ; Jolles, A.E. ; Wieren, S.E. van; Greyling, B.J. ; Helden, P.D. ; Bastos, A.D.S. - \ 2010
BMC Evolutionary Biology 10 (2010). - ISSN 1471-2148 - 11 p.
cattle bos-taurus - syncerus-caffer - male-fertility - meiotic drive - bovine tuberculosis - drosophila-melanogaster - microsatellite analysis - natural-populations - sperm - selection
Background - The Y-chromosomal diversity in the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) population of Kruger National Park (KNP) is characterized by rainfall-driven haplotype frequency shifts between year cohorts. Stable Y-chromosomal polymorphism is difficult to reconcile with haplotype frequency variations without assuming frequency-dependent selection or specific interactions in the population dynamics of X- and Y-chromosomal genes, since otherwise the fittest haplotype would inevitably sweep to fixation. Stable Y-chromosomal polymorphism due one of these factors only seems possible when there are Y-chromosomal distorters of an equal sex ratio, which act by negatively affecting X-gametes, or Y-chromosomal suppressors of a female-biased sex ratio. These sex-ratio (SR) genes modify (suppress) gamete transmission in their own favour at a fitness cost, allowing for stable polymorphism. Results - Here we show temporal correlations between Y-chromosomal haplotype frequencies and foetal sex ratios in the KNP buffalo population, suggesting SR genes. Frequencies varied by a factor of five; too high to be alternatively explained by Y-chromosomal effects on pregnancy loss. Sex ratios were male-biased during wet and female-biased during dry periods (male proportion: 0.47-0.53), seasonally and annually. Both wet and dry periods were associated with a specific haplotype indicating a SR distorter and SR suppressor, respectively. Conclusions - The distinctive properties suggested for explaining Y-chromosomal polymorphism in African buffalo may not be restricted to this species alone. SR genes may play a broader and largely overlooked role in mammalian sex-ratio variation
RNA interference silencing of chalcone synthase, the first step in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway, leads to parthenocarpic tomato fruits
Schijlen, E.G.W.M. ; Vos, C.H. de; Martens, S. ; Jonker, H.H. ; Rosin, F.M.A. ; Molthoff, J.W. ; Tikunov, Y.M. ; Angenent, G.C. ; Tunen, A.J. van; Bovy, A.G. - \ 2007
Plant Physiology 144 (2007)3. - ISSN 0032-0889 - p. 1520 - 1530.
transcription factor - male-sterility - arabidopsis-thaliana - male-fertility - flower color - tube growth - gene - pollen - petunia - expression
Parthenocarpy, the formation of seedless fruits in the absence of functional fertilization, is a desirable trait for several important crop plants, including tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Seedless fruits can be of great value for consumers, the processing industry, and breeding companies. In this article, we propose a novel strategy to obtain parthenocarpic tomatoes by down-regulation of the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway using RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated suppression of chalcone synthase (CHS), the first gene in the flavonoid pathway. In CHS RNAi plants, total flavonoid levels, transcript levels of both Chs1 and Chs2, as well as CHS enzyme activity were reduced by up to a few percent of the corresponding wild-type values. Surprisingly, all strong Chs-silenced tomato lines developed parthenocarpic fruits. Although a relation between flavonoids and parthenocarpic fruit development has never been described, it is well known that flavonoids are essential for pollen development and pollen tube growth and, hence, play an essential role in plant reproduction. The observed parthenocarpic fruit development appeared to be pollination dependent, and Chs RNAi fruits displayed impaired pollen tube growth. Our results lead to novel insight in the mechanisms underlying parthenocarpic fruit development. The potential of this technology for applications in plant breeding and biotechnology will be discussed.