Many hermaphroditic plants avoid self-fertilization by rejecting pollen that express genetically-determined specificities in common with the pistil. Self-incompatibility systems typically show extremely high genetic diversity, some maintaining hundreds of specificities. This article addresses the genetic and evolutionary mechanisms through which new mating specificities arise. Recent investigations of the genetic and physiological basis of self-incompatibility are reviewed. Two evolutionary pathways are considered: one which requires full expression of self-incompatibility in all intermediates and one in which new mating specificities arise through episodes of partial breakdown and restoration of self-incompatibility.
Species of the families Mytilidae (sea mussels) and Unionidae (fresh water mussels) contain two types of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the F that behaves as the standard animal mtDNA and the M that is transmitted through the sperm and establishes itself only in the male gonad. The two molecules have, therefore, separate transmission routes, one through the female and the other through the male lineage. The system has been named doubly uniparental inheritance (DUI). Another important feature of sea mussels is that the sex ratio among offspring of a pair mating is determined by the female parent only. The mechanism of DUI remains unknown. One hypothesis that is consistent with all observations is that the standard maternal inheritance was modified in mussels via the evolution of a suppressor gene that is expressed during oogenesis and has two alleles, the inactive and the active allele. In the presence of the active allele in the mother's genotype the egg is supplied with a substance that interferes and the normal mechanism of elimination of sperm mitochondria. This will explain why half of mussels have the father's mtDNA and half do not, but would not explain why presence/absence of paternal mtDNA is linked with the male and female gender, respectively. To provide an explanation for this linkage, one would have to assume that there is a causal relationship between retention of paternal mtDNA and sex determination.
The SGS1 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a homologue for human Bloom's syndrome, Werner's syndrome, and Rothmund-Thomson's syndrome causative genes. Disruptants of SGS1 show high sensitivity to methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) and hydroxyurea, and hyper recombination phenotypes including interchromosomal homologous recombination in mitotic growth. In addition, sgs1 disruptants show poor sporulation and a reduced level of meiotic recombination as assayed by return-to-growth. We examined domains of Sgs1 required for mitotic and meiotic functions of Sgs1 by transfecting variously mutated SGS1 into sgs1 disruptants. The N-terminal 1-401 amino acid region was required for complementation of MMS sensitivity and suppression of hyper heteroallelic recombinations of sgs1 disruptants in mitotic growth and for complementation of poor sporulation and of reduced meiotic recombination. Although the N-terminal 1-125 amino acid region was absolutely required for the complementation of MMS sensitivity and suppression of hyper heteroallelic recombinations in mitotic growth, it was dispensable for the meiotic functions. In contrast, the highly acidic region (400-596 amino acid) was dispensable for the mitotic functions but a deletion of this region affected the meiotic functions. The C-terminal 1271-1350 amino acid region containing a HRDC (helicase and RNaseD C-terminal) domain was dispensable for the mitotic and meiotic functions. Although DNA helicase activity of Sgs1 was not required for Sgs1 to complement the meiotic functions, a deletion of helicase motifs III-IV (842-1046 amino acid) abolished the complementing activity of Sgs1, indicating that a structurally intact helicase domain is necessary for Sgs1 to fulfill its meiotic functions.
An insertion sequence 418 bp in length was found in one member of rice retroposon p-SINE1 in Oryza glaberrima. This sequence had long terminal inverted repeats (TIRs) and is flanked by direct repeats of a 9-bp sequence at the target site, indicative that the insertion sequence is a rice transposable element, which we named Tnr8. Interestingly, each TIR sequence consisted of a unique 9-bp terminal sequence and six tandem repeats of a sequence about 30 bp in length, like the foldback transposable element first identified in Drosophila. A homology search of databases and analysis by PCR revealed that a large number of Tnr8 members with sequence variations were present in the rice genome. Some of these members were not present at given loci in several rice species with the AA genome. These findings suggest that the Tnr8 family members transposed long ago, but some appear to have mobilized after rice strains with the AA genome diverged. The Tnr8 members are thought to be involved in rearrangements of the rice genome.
The phylogenetic trees have been constructed for the mitochondrial ND5 gene sequences from the Japanese Leptocarabus ground beetles, which contain 101 specimens collected from nearly the complete distribution ranges of them consisting of five morphological species, i.e., Leptocarabus procerulus, L. kumagaii, L. hiurai, L. kyushuensis and L. arboreus. On the trees, there are recognized two major lineages, each of which is further divided into two or more sublineages. The phylogenetic lines are geographically linked. Two or more species occur in a single lineage, and the same species appear in different lines. We suggest that transformation from one type of morphology to another took place in parallel in various periods of evolution of the Japanese Leptocarabus. From the phylogenetic tree and the dating from the nucleotide substitution rate and the geohistorical data it is inferred that the ancestry of all the Japanese Leptocarabus species was derived from a protoform of L. kyushuensis inhabited the ancient Japan area, followed by separation into two lineages after split of the Japanese Islands from the Eurasian Continent. They then propagated distribution to occupy their own habitat ranges, during which the morphological transformation took place in some lineages.
Mapping of rDNA sites on the chromosomes of four diploid and two tetraploid species of Eleusine has provided valuable information on genome relationship between the species. Presence of 18S-5.8S-26S rDNA on the largest pair of the chromosomes, location of 5S rDNA at four sites on two pairs of chromosomes and presence of 18S-5.8S-26S and 5S rDNA at same location on one pair of chromosomes have clearly differentiated E. multiflora from rest of the species of Eleusine. The two tetraploid species, E. coracana and E. africana have the same number of 18S-5.8S-26S and 5S rDNA sites and located at similar position on the chromosomes. Diploid species, E. indica, E. floccifolia and E. tristachya have the same 18S-5.8S-26S sites and location on the chromosomes which also resembled with the two pairs of 18S-5.8S-26S rDNA locations in tetraploid species, E. coracana and E. africana. The 5S rDNA sites on chromosomes of E. indica and E. floccifolia were also comparable to the 5S rDNA sites of E. africana and E. coracana. The similarity of the rDNA sites and their location on chromosomes in the three diploid and two polyploid species also supports the view that genome donors to tetraploid species may be from these diploid species.
We have isolated and characterized several highly repetitive DNA elements from two species of Chinese bitterlings, Rhodeus atremius suigensis and R. ocellatus ocellatus. They comprise a partly interspersed and partly tandem repetitive family of about 1.0 to 1.3kb in length. Individual elements showed considerable length variation, but genomic Southern blotting revealed two major length groups. Their restricted presence of these elements among related species and relative copy number differences indicated rapid change of genome structure in this group of fish. The isolated elements may be useful landmarks for further chromosomal studies.