Theory predicts that sexual reproduction can either facilitate or restrain transposable element (TE) accumulation by providing TEs with a means of spreading to all individuals in a population, versus facilitating TE load reduction via purifying selection. By quantifying genomic TE loads over time in experimental sexual and asexual Saccharomyces cerevisiae populations, we provide direct evidence that TE loads decrease rapidly under asexual reproduction.. We show, using simulations, that this reduction may occus via evolution of TE activity, most likely via increased excision rates. Thus, sex is a major driver of genomic TE loads and at the root of the success of TEs.
Raw read data of the experiment is available at SRA (BioProject identifier PRJNA308843). All data processing and analyses scripts as well as the simulator together with explanations are available at https://github.com/KamilSJaron/reproductive_mode_TE_dynamics.
Sex speeds adaptation by altering the dynamics of molecular evolutionNCBI BioProject, PRJNA308843.
- Jens Bast
- Tanja Schwander
- Tanja Schwander
- Jens Bast
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Graham Coop, University of California, Davis, United States
© 2019, Bast et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Ciliates are microbial eukaryotes that undergo extensive programmed genome rearrangement, a natural genome editing process that converts long germline chromosomes into smaller gene-rich somatic chromosomes. Three well-studied ciliates include Oxytricha trifallax, Tetrahymena thermophila and Paramecium tetraurelia, but only the Oxytricha lineage has a massively scrambled genome, whose assembly during development requires hundreds of thousands of precise programmed DNA joining events, representing the most complex genome dynamics of any known organism. Here we study the emergence of such complex genomes by examining the origin and evolution of discontinuous and scrambled genes in the Oxytricha lineage. This study compares six genomes from three species, the germline and somatic genomes for Euplotes woodruffi, Tetmemena sp., and the model ciliate Oxytricha trifallax. To complement existing data, we sequenced, assembled and annotated the germline and somatic genomes of Euplotes woodruffi, which provides an outgroup, and the germline genome of Tetmemena sp.. We find that the germline genome of Tetmemena is as massively scrambled and interrupted as Oxytricha's : 13.6% of its gene loci require programmed translocations and/or inversions, with some genes requiring hundreds of precise gene editing events during development. This study revealed that the earlier-diverged spirotrich, E. woodruffi, also has a scrambled genome, but only roughly half as many loci (7.3%) are scrambled. Furthermore, its scrambled genes are less complex, together supporting the position of Euplotes as a possible evolutionary intermediate in this lineage, in the process of accumulating complex evolutionary genome rearrangements, all of which require extensive repair to assemble functional coding regions. Comparative analysis also reveals that scrambled loci are often associated with local duplications, supporting a gradual model for the origin of complex, scrambled genomes via many small events of DNA duplication and decay.
A morbidostat is a bioreactor that uses antibiotics to control the growth of bacteria, making it well-suited for studying the evolution of antibiotic resistance. However, morbidostats are often too expensive to be used in educational settings. Here we present a low-cost morbidostat called the EVolutionary biorEactor (EVE) that can be built by students with minimal engineering and programming experience. We describe how we validated EVE in a real classroom setting by evolving replicate Escherichia coli populations under chloramphenicol challenge, thereby enabling students to learn about bacterial growth and antibiotic resistance.