Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | VOL. 289

Mitochondrial effects on fertility and longevity in Tigriopus californicus contradict predictions of the mother's curse hypothesis

Publication Date Nov 16, 2022


Strict maternal inheritance of mitochondria favours the evolutionary accumulation of sex-biased fitness effects, as mitochondrial evolution occurs exclusively in female lineages. The ‘mother's curse’ hypothesis proposes that male-harming mutations should accumulate in mitochondrial genomes when they have neutral or beneficial effects on female fitness. Rigorous empirical tests have largely focused on Drosophila , where support for the predictions of mother's curse has been mixed. We investigated the impact of mother's curse mutations in Tigriopus californicus, a minute crustacean. Using non-recombinant backcrosses, we introgressed four divergent mitochondrial haplotypes into two nuclear backgrounds and recorded measures of fertility and longevity. We found that the phenotypic effects of mitochondrial mutations were context dependent, being influenced by the nuclear background in which they were expressed, as well as the sex of the individual and rearing temperature. Mitochondrial haplotype effects were greater for fertility than longevity, and temperature effects were greater for longevity. However, in opposition to mother's curse expectations, females had higher mitochondrial genetic variance than males for fertility and longevity, little evidence of sexual antagonism favouring females was found, and the impacts of mitonuclear mismatch harmed females but not males. Together, this indicates that selection on mitochondrial variation has not resulted in the accumulat...


Curse Hypothesis Nuclear Background Tigriopus Californicus Female Fitness Female Lineages Mitochondrial Haplotype Mitochondrial Variation Mitochondrial Genomes Beneficial Effects Temperature Effects

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