The evolution of haplodiploidy by male-killing endosymbionts: Importance of population structure and endosymbiont mutualisms

B. Kuijper*, I. Pen

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

12 Citaten (Scopus)


Haplodiploid inheritance systems, characterized by male transmission of only their maternally inherited genomic elements, have evolved more than 20 times within the animal kingdom. A number of theoretical studies have argued that infection with certain male-killing endosymbionts can potentially lead to the evolution of haplodiploidy. By explicitly investigating the coevolutionary dynamics between host and endosymbiont, we show that the assumptions of current models cannot explain the evolution of haplodiploidy very well, as the endosymbiont will often go extinct in the long term. Here, we provide two additional mechanisms that can explain the stable evolution of haplodiploidy by male-killing endosymbionts. First of all, a spatially structured population can facilitate the long-term persistence of haplodiploidy, but this applies only when levels of inbreeding are very high. By contrast, endosymbionts that are mutualistic with their hosts provide a much more general and promising route to the stable evolution of haplodiploidy. This model is the first to provide a formal explanation of the supposed association between the evolution of haplodiploidy and the highly inbred lifestyles of some ancestors, while it also provides a hypothesis for the evolution of haplodiploidy in more outbred ancestors.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)40-52
Aantal pagina's13
TijdschriftJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - jan-2010

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