Meiotic genes in colpodean ciliates support secretive sexuality

Dunthorn Micah, Zufall Rebecca A., Chi Jingyun, Paszkiewicz Konrad, Moore Karen, Mahé Frédéric. 2017. Meiotic genes in colpodean ciliates support secretive sexuality. Genome Biology and Evolution, 9 (6) : pp. 1781-1787.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact Revue en libre accès total
Published version - Anglais
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Dunthorn 2017 Meiotic Genes in Colpodean Ciliates Support Secretive Sexuality.pdf

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Quartile : Q1, Sujet : GENETICS & HEREDITY / Quartile : Q2, Sujet : EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

Abstract : The putatively asexual Colpodean ciliates potentially pose a problem to macro-organismic theories of evolution. They are extremely ancient (although asexuality is thought to hasten extinction), and yet there is one apparently derived sexual species (implying an unlikely regain of a complex trait). If macro-organismic theories of evolution also broadly apply to microbial eukaryotes, though, then most or all of the colpodean ciliates should merely be secretively sexual. Here we show using de novo genome sequencing, that colpodean ciliates have the meiotic genes required for sex and these genes are under functional constraint. Along with these genomic data, we argue that these ciliates are sexual given the cytological observations of both micronuclei and macronuclei within their cells, and the behavioral observations of brief fusions as if the cells were mating. The challenge that colpodean ciliates pose is therefore not to evolutionary theory, but to our ability to induce microbial eukaryotic sex in the laboratory.

Mots-clés libres : Asexuality, Colpodea, Genome sequencing, Gene inventory

Classification Agris : L10 - Animal genetics and breeding
L53 - Animal physiology - Reproduction

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2014-2018) - Sociétés, natures et territoires

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Dunthorn Micah, University of Kaiserslautern (DEU) - auteur correspondant
  • Zufall Rebecca A., University of Houston (USA)
  • Chi Jingyun, University of Kaiserslautern (DEU)
  • Paszkiewicz Konrad, University of Exeter (GBR)
  • Moore Karen, University of Exeter (GBR)
  • Mahé Frédéric, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR LSTM (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-2808-0984

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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