The genetic basis and fitness consequences of sperm midpiece size in deer mice

Citation:

Fisher HS, Jacobs-Palmer E, Lassance JM, Hoekstra HE. The genetic basis and fitness consequences of sperm midpiece size in deer mice. Nature Communications 2016;7:13652.
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Date Published:

2 Dec 2016

Abstract:

 

An extensive array of reproductive traits varies among species, yet the genetic mechanisms that enable divergence, often over short evolutionary timescales, remain elusive. Here we examine two sister-species of Peromyscus mice with divergent mating systems. We find that the promiscuous species produces sperm with longer midpiece than the monogamous species, and midpiece size correlates positively with competitive ability and swimming performance. Using forward genetics, we identify a gene associated with midpiece length: Prkar1a, which encodes the R1a regulatory subunit of PKA. R1a localizes to midpiece in Peromyscus and is differentially expressed in mature sperm of the two species yet is similarly abundant in the testis. We also show that genetic variation at this locus accurately predicts male reproductive success. Our findings suggest that rapid evolution of reproductive traits can occur through cell type-specific changes to ubiquitously expressed genes and have an important effect on fitness.

 

Last updated on 01/09/2017