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Male-dependent doubly uniparental inheritance of mitochondrial DNA and female-dependent sex-ratio in the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis

, : Male-dependent doubly uniparental inheritance of mitochondrial DNA and female-dependent sex-ratio in the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. Genetics 145(4): 1073-1082

We have investigated sex ratio and mitochondrial DNA inheritance in pair-matings involving five female and five male individuals of the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. the percentage of male progeny varied widely among families and was found to be characteristic of the female parent and independent of the male to which it was mated. Thus sex-ratio in Mytilus appears to be independent of the nuclear genotype of the sperm. With a few exceptions, doubly uniparental inheritance (DUI) of mtDNA was observed in all families fathered by four of the five males; female and male progeny contained the mother's mtDNA (the F genome), but males contained also the father's paternal mtDNA (the M genome). Two hermaphrodite individuals found among the progeny of these crosses contained the F mitochondrial genome in the female gonad and both the F and M genomes in the male gonad. All four families fathered by the fifth male showed the standard maternal inheritance (SMI) of animals mtDNA: both female and male progeny contained only the maternal mtDNA. These observations illustrate the intimate linkage between sex and mtDNA inheritance in species with DUI and suggest different major rules for each gender. We propose a model according to which development of a male gonad requires the presence in the early germ cells of an agent associated with sperm-derived mitochondria, these mitochondria are endowed with fa paternally encoded replicative advantage through which they overcome their original minority in the fertilized egg and this advantage (and, therefore, the chance of an early entrance into the germ line) is countered by a maternally encoded egg factor.

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Accession: 002889504

PMID: 9093859

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