The Red Queen lives: Epistasis between linked resistance loci

Metzger, César M. J. A. and Luijckx, Pepijn and Bento, Gilberto and Mariadassou, Mahendra and Ebert, Dieter. (2016) The Red Queen lives: Epistasis between linked resistance loci. Evolution, 70 (2). pp. 480-487.

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A popular theory explaining the maintenance of genetic recombination (sex) is the Red Queen Theory. This theory revolves around the idea that time-lagged negative frequency-dependent selection by parasites favors rare host genotypes generated through recombination. Although the Red Queen has been studied for decades, one of its key assumptions has remained unsupported. The signature host-parasite specificity underlying the Red Queen, where infection depends on a match between host and parasite genotypes, relies on epistasis between linked resistance loci for which no empirical evidence exists. We performed 13 genetic crosses and tested over 7000 Daphnia magna genotypes for resistance to two strains of the bacterial pathogen Pasteuria ramosa. Results reveal the presence of strong epistasis between three closely linked resistance loci. One locus masks the expression of the other two, while these two interact to produce a single resistance phenotype. Changing a single allele on one of these interacting loci can reverse resistance against the tested parasites. Such a genetic mechanism is consistent with host and parasite specificity assumed by the Red Queen Theory. These results thus provide evidence for a fundamental assumption of this theory and provide a genetic basis for understanding the Red Queen dynamics in the Daphnia-Pasteuria system.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Evolutionary Biology (Ebert)
UniBasel Contributors:Ebert, Dieter and Luijckx, Pepijn and Metzger, César and Neves Bento, Gilberto
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:09 Oct 2017 07:33
Deposited On:12 Sep 2017 10:02

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