Evolution of sex and mating loci: An expanded view from Volvocine algae

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Sexual reproduction in Volvocine algae coevolved with the acquisition of multicellularity. Unicellular genera such as Chlamydomonas and small colonial genera from this group have classical mating types with equal-sized gametes, while larger multicellular genera such as Volvox have differentiated males and females that produce sperm and eggs respectively. Newly available sequence from the Volvox and Chlamydomonas genomes and mating loci open up the potential to investigate how sex-determining regions co-evolve with major changes in development and sexual reproduction. The expanded size and sequence divergence between the male and female haplotypes of the Volvox mating locus (MT) not only provide insights into how the colonial Volvocine algae might have evolved sexual dimorphism, but also raise questions about why the putative ancestral-like MT locus in Chlamydomonas shows less divergence between haplotypes than expected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)634-641
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2011


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