Population dynamics of a selfish B chromosome neutralized by the standard genome in the grasshopper Eyprepocnemis plorans.Am Nat. 1997 Jun; 149(6):1030-50.AN
Effects of the B chromosome polymorphism of the grasshopper Eyprepocnemis plorans were analyzed in two natural populations. Postmating sexual selection, female fertility, and survival were studied. The B chromosome lacks drive and has no detectable effects on fitness. A neutral B cannot invade a population and establish a polymorphism, but the confidence limits on our estimates cannot exclude the possibility that the polymorphism is maintained by a balance between weak drive and weak selection against individuals with two and three B's. However, other lines of evidence favor the following model of the dynamics of the B in E. plorans. In a newly invaded population, the B has substantial drive, but the evolution of drive suppressor genes in the A chromosomes neutralizes the B drive so that it becomes near-neutral and begins a random walk toward extinction by stochastic loss. Because the B is common by the time drive disappears, the random walk is likely to continue for a long time. If in the course of the random walk a variant B with greater drive appears, then it will displace the original variant, and a new cycle of drive suppression and drift to extinction occurs. A simulation model of this process suggested that the mean time to extinction is proportional to the two-thirds power of the population size; it is much less affected by subpopulation size or the number of populations in a subdivided population.