- Evolution of the Two Sexes under Internal Fertilization and Alternative Evolutionary Pathways. [Journal Article]
- ANAm Nat 2019; 193(5):702-716
- Transition from isogamy to anisogamy, hence males and females, leads to sexual selection, sexual conflict, sexual dimorphism, and sex roles. Gamete dynamics theory links biophysics of gamete limitati…
Transition from isogamy to anisogamy, hence males and females, leads to sexual selection, sexual conflict, sexual dimorphism, and sex roles. Gamete dynamics theory links biophysics of gamete limitation, gamete competition, and resource requirements for zygote survival and assumes broadcast spawning. It makes testable predictions, but most comparative tests use volvocine algae, which feature internal fertilization. We broaden this theory by comparing broadcast-spawning predictions with two plausible internal-fertilization scenarios: gamete casting/brooding (one mating type retains gametes internally, the other broadcasts them) and packet casting/brooding (one type retains gametes internally, the other broadcasts packets containing gametes, which are released for fertilization). Models show that predictions are remarkably robust to these radical changes, yielding (1) isogamy under low gamete limitation, low gamete competition, and similar required resources for gametes and zygotes, (2) anisogamy when gamete competition and/or limitation are higher and when zygotes require more resources than gametes, as is likely as multicellularity develops, (3) a positive correlation between multicellular complexity and anisogamy ratio, and (4) under gamete competition, only brooders becoming female. Thus, gamete dynamics theory represents a potent rationale for isogamy/anisogamy and makes similar testable predictions for broadcast spawners and internal fertilizers, regardless of whether anisogamy or internal fertilization evolved first.
- Isogamy in large and complex volvocine algae is consistent with the gamete competition theory of the evolution of anisogamy. [Journal Article]
- PBProc Biol Sci 2018 11 07; 285(1890)
- Although the gamete competition theory remains the dominant explanation for the evolution of anisogamy, well-known exceptions to its predictions have raised doubts about the completeness of the theor…
Although the gamete competition theory remains the dominant explanation for the evolution of anisogamy, well-known exceptions to its predictions have raised doubts about the completeness of the theory. One of these exceptions is isogamy in large or complex species of green algae. Here, we show that this exception may be explained in a manner consistent with a game-theoretic extension of the original theory: a constraint on the minimum size of a gamete may prevent the evolution of continuously stable anisogamy. We show that in the volvocine algae, both gametes of isogamous species retain an intact chloroplast, whereas the chloroplast of the microgamete in anisogamous species is invariably degenerate. The chloroplast, which functions in photosynthesis and starch storage, may be necessary to provision a gamete for an extended period when gamete encounter rates are low. The single chloroplast accounts for most of the volume of a typical gamete, and thus may constrain the minimum size of a gamete, preventing the evolution of anisogamy. A prediction from this hypothesis, that isogametes should be larger than the microgametes of similar-size species, is confirmed for the volvocine algae. Our results support the gamete competition theory.
- Anisogamy evolved with a reduced sex-determining region in volvocine green algae. [Journal Article]
- CBCommun Biol 2018; 1:17
- Male and female gametes differing in size-anisogamy-emerged independently from isogamous ancestors in various eukaryotic lineages, although genetic bases of this emergence are still unknown. Volvocin…
Male and female gametes differing in size-anisogamy-emerged independently from isogamous ancestors in various eukaryotic lineages, although genetic bases of this emergence are still unknown. Volvocine green algae are a model lineage for investigating the transition from isogamy to anisogamy. Here we focus on two closely related volvocine genera that bracket this transition-isogamous Yamagishiella and anisogamous Eudorina. We generated de novo nuclear genome assemblies of both sexes of Yamagishiella and Eudorina to identify the dimorphic sex-determining chromosomal region or mating-type locus (MT) from each. In contrast to the large (>1 Mb) and complex MT of oogamous Volvox, Yamagishiella and Eudorina MT are smaller (7-268 kb) and simpler with only two sex-limited genes-the minus/male-limited MID and the plus/female-limited FUS1. No prominently dimorphic gametologs were identified in either species. Thus, the first step to anisogamy in volvocine algae presumably occurred without an increase in MT size and complexity.
- Evolutionary divergence of the sex-determining gene MID uncoupled from the transition to anisogamy in volvocine algae. [Journal Article]
- DDevelopment 2018 04 09; 145(7)
- Volvocine algae constitute a unique comparative model for investigating the evolution of oogamy from isogamous mating types. The sex- or mating type-determining gene MID encodes a conserved RWP-RK tr…
Volvocine algae constitute a unique comparative model for investigating the evolution of oogamy from isogamous mating types. The sex- or mating type-determining gene MID encodes a conserved RWP-RK transcription factor found in either the MT- or male mating locus of dioecious volvocine species. We previously found that MID from the isogamous species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (CrMID) could not induce ectopic spermatogenesis when expressed heterologously in Volvox carteri females, suggesting coevolution of Mid function with gamete dimorphism. Here we found that ectopic expression of MID from the anisogamous species Pleodorina starrii (PsMID) could efficiently induce spermatogenesis when expressed in V. carteri females and, unexpectedly, that GpMID from the isogamous species Gonium pectorale was also able to induce V. carteri spermatogenesis. Neither VcMID nor GpMID could complement a C. reinhardtii mid mutant, at least partly owing to instability of heterologous Mid proteins. Our data show that Mid divergence was not a major contributor to the transition between isogamy and anisogamy/oogamy in volvocine algae, and instead implicate changes in cis-regulatory interactions and/or trans-acting factors of the Mid network in the evolution of sexual dimorphism.
- Positive size-speed relationships in gametes and vegetative cells of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; implications for the evolution of sperm. [Journal Article]
- EEvolution 2018; 72(3):440-452
- It is commonly held that differences in gametes of the two sexes (anisogamy) evolved from ancestors whose gametes were similar in size and behavior (isogamy). Underlying many hypotheses explaining an…
It is commonly held that differences in gametes of the two sexes (anisogamy) evolved from ancestors whose gametes were similar in size and behavior (isogamy). Underlying many hypotheses explaining anisogamy are assumed relationships between cell size and speed in the ancestral isogamous population. Using the isogamous alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, we explored size-speed distributions in vegetative and gamete cells of 10 cell lines, and clonal data from within two cell lines. We applied an independent speed selection approach to gamete populations of C. reinhardtii, monitoring correlated responses in size following selection for high speed. We demonstrate positive size-speed relationships in clones, cell lines, and artificially selected speed selection lines. We found different size-speed relationships in the two cell types of C. reinhardtii even though they overlap in size, suggesting that cell composition and/or programs of gene expression are capable of altering this relationship, and that the relationship is evolvable. The positive genetic size-speed correlation means that the division of parent vegetative cells into numerous gametes trades off against not only size, but also speed, a trade-off that has not received previous attention. Our results support reevaluating the role of speed selection in the evolution of anisogamy.
- The evolution of sexes: A specific test of the disruptive selection theory. [Journal Article]
- EEEcol Evol 2018; 8(1):207-219
- The disruptive selection theory of the evolution of anisogamy posits that the evolution of a larger body or greater organismal complexity selects for a larger zygote, which in turn selects for larger…
The disruptive selection theory of the evolution of anisogamy posits that the evolution of a larger body or greater organismal complexity selects for a larger zygote, which in turn selects for larger gametes. This may provide the opportunity for one mating type to produce more numerous, small gametes, forcing the other mating type to produce fewer, large gametes. Predictions common to this and related theories have been partially upheld. Here, a prediction specific to the disruptive selection theory is derived from a previously published game-theoretic model that represents the most complete description of the theory. The prediction, that the ratio of macrogamete to microgamete size should be above three for anisogamous species, is supported for the volvocine algae. A fully population genetic implementation of the model, involving mutation, genetic drift, and selection, is used to verify the game-theoretic approach and accurately simulates the evolution of gamete sizes in anisogamous species. This model was extended to include a locus for gamete motility and shows that oogamy should evolve whenever there is costly motility. The classic twofold cost of sex may be derived from the fitness functions of these models, showing that this cost is ultimately due to genetic conflict.
- Phototaxis and chemotaxis of brown algal swarmers. [Review]
- JPJ Plant Res 2017; 130(3):443-453
- Brown algae exhibit three patterns of sexual reproduction: isogamy, anisogamy, and oogamy. Unicellular swarmers including gametes and zoospores bear two heterogenous flagella, an anterior flagellum w…
Brown algae exhibit three patterns of sexual reproduction: isogamy, anisogamy, and oogamy. Unicellular swarmers including gametes and zoospores bear two heterogenous flagella, an anterior flagellum with mastigonemes (fine tripartite hairs) and a posterior one. In seawater, these flagellates usually receive physico-chemical signals for finding partners and good habitats. It is well known that brown algal swarmers change their swimming direction depending on blue light (phototaxis), and male gametes do so, based on the sex pheromones from female gametes (chemotaxis). In recent years, the comparative analysis of chemotaxis in isogamy, anisogamy, and oogamy has been conducted. In this paper, we focused on the phototaxis and chemotaxis of brown algal gametes comparing the current knowledge with our recent studies.
- Social amoebae mating types do not invest unequally in sexual offspring. [Journal Article]
- JEJ Evol Biol 2017; 30(5):926-937
- Unequal investment by different sexes in their progeny is common and includes differential investment in the zygote and differential care of the young. The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum has …
Unequal investment by different sexes in their progeny is common and includes differential investment in the zygote and differential care of the young. The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum has a sexual stage in which isogamous cells of any two of the three mating types fuse to form a zygote which then attracts hundreds of other cells to the macrocyst. The latter cells are cannibalized and so make no genetic contribution to reproduction. Previous literature suggests that this sacrifice may be induced in cells of one mating type by cells of another, resulting in a higher than expected production of macrocysts when the inducing type is rare and giving a reproductive advantage to this social cheat. We tested this hypothesis in eight trios of field-collected clones of each of the three D. discoideum mating types by measuring macrocyst production at different pairwise frequencies. We found evidence that supported differential contribution in only two of the 24 clone pairs, so this pattern is rare and clone-specific. In general, we did not reject the hypothesis that the mating types contribute cells relative to their proportion in the population. We also found a significant quadratic relationship between partner frequency and macrocyst production, suggesting that when one clone is rare, macrocyst production is limited by partner availability. We were also unable to replicate previous findings that macrocyst production could be induced in the absence of a compatible mating partner. Overall, mating type-specific differential investment during sex is unlikely in microbial eukaryotes like D. discoideum.
- What do isogamous organisms teach us about sex and the two sexes? [Review]
- PTPhilos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2016 10 19; 371(1706)
- Isogamy is a reproductive system where all gametes are morphologically similar, especially in terms of size. Its importance goes beyond specific cases: to this day non-anisogamous systems are common …
Isogamy is a reproductive system where all gametes are morphologically similar, especially in terms of size. Its importance goes beyond specific cases: to this day non-anisogamous systems are common outside of multicellular animals and plants, they can be found in all eukaryotic super-groups, and anisogamous organisms appear to have isogamous ancestors. Furthermore, because maleness is synonymous with the production of small gametes, an explanation for the initial origin of males and females is synonymous with understanding the transition from isogamy to anisogamy. As we show here, this transition may also be crucial for understanding why sex itself remains common even in taxa with high costs of male production (the twofold cost of sex). The transition to anisogamy implies the origin of male and female sexes, kickstarts the subsequent evolution of sex roles, and has a major impact on the costliness of sexual reproduction. Finally, we combine some of the consequences of isogamy and anisogamy in a thought experiment on the maintenance of sexual reproduction. We ask what happens if there is a less than twofold benefit to sex (not an unlikely scenario as large short-term benefits have proved difficult to find), and argue that this could lead to a situation where lineages that evolve anisogamy-and thus the highest costs of sex-end up being associated with constraints that make invasion by asexual reproduction unlikely (the 'anisogamy gateway' hypothesis).This article is part of the themed issue 'Weird sex: the underappreciated diversity of sexual reproduction'.
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- Gamete signalling underlies the evolution of mating types and their number. [Journal Article]
- PTPhilos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2016 10 19; 371(1706)
- The gametes of unicellular eukaryotes are morphologically identical, but are nonetheless divided into distinct mating types. The number of mating types varies enormously and can reach several thousan…
The gametes of unicellular eukaryotes are morphologically identical, but are nonetheless divided into distinct mating types. The number of mating types varies enormously and can reach several thousand, yet most species have only two. Why do morphologically identical gametes need to be differentiated into self-incompatible mating types, and why is two the most common number of mating types? In this work, we explore a neglected hypothesis that there is a need for asymmetric signalling interactions between mating partners. Our review shows that isogamous gametes always interact asymmetrically throughout sex and argue that this asymmetry is favoured because it enhances the efficiency of the mating process. We further develop a simple mathematical model that allows us to study the evolution of the number of mating types based on the strength of signalling interactions between gametes. Novel mating types have an advantage as they are compatible with all others and rarely meet their own type. But if existing mating types coevolve to have strong mutual interactions, this restricts the spread of novel types. Similarly, coevolution is likely to drive out less attractive mating types. These countervailing forces specify the number of mating types that are evolutionarily stable.This article is part of the themed issue 'Weird sex: the underappreciated diversity of sexual reproduction'.