Direct and indirect genetic effects of sex-specific mitonuclear epistasis on reproductive ageing

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  • Elina Immonen, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University
  • ,
  • Marie Collet, École Normale Supérieure of Lyon, Lyon, France, France
  • Julieta Goenaga, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • ,
  • Göran Arnqvist, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Sweden
Mitochondria are involved in ageing and their function requires coordinated action of both mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Epistasis between the two genomes can influence lifespan but whether this also holds for reproductive senescence is unclear. Maternal inheritance of mitochondria predicts sex differences in the efficacy of selection on mitonuclear genotypes that should result in differences between females and males in mitochondrial genetic effects. Mitonuclear genotype of a focal individual may also indirectly affect trait expression in the mating partner. We tested these predictions in the seed beetle Callosobruchus maculatus, using introgression lines harbouring distinct mitonuclear genotypes. Our results reveal both direct and indirect sex-specific effects of mitonuclear epistasis on reproductive ageing. Females harbouring coadapted mitonuclear genotypes showed higher lifetime fecundity due to slower senescence relative to novel mitonuclear combinations. We found no evidence for mitonuclear coadaptation in males. Mitonuclear epistasis not only affected age-specific ejaculate weight, but also influenced male age-dependent indirect effects on traits expressed by their female partners (fecundity, egg size, longevity). These results demonstrate important consequences of sex-specific mitonuclear epistasis for both mating partners, consistent with a role for mitonuclear genetic constraints upon sex-specific adaptive evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-347
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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