In ascomycetes vegetative incompatibility can prevent the somatic exchange of genetic material between conspecifics. It must occur frequently in natural populations, since in all species studied many vegetative compatibility groups (VCGs) are found. Using a population-genetic approach, this paper explores two possible selective explanations for the evolution of vegetative incompatibility in asexual fungi: selection by a nuclear parasitic gene, and selection by a harmful cytoplasmic element. In a deterministic model, assuming a random spatial distribution of VCGs in an infinitely sized population, it is found that neither of these forms of frequency-dependent selection can explain the large number of VCGs found in nature. The selective pressure for more VCGs disappears once a limited number of VCGs exist, because the frequency of compatible interactions decreases when the number of VCGs increases. In comparing the two selective explanations, selection by a cytoplasmic element seems a more plausible explanation than selection by a nuclear gene.
|Nummer van het tijdschrift||4|
|Status||Published - aug.-1994|