While sex is an ancient and highly conserved eukaryotic invention, self-incompatibility systems such as mating types or sexes appear to be derived limitations that show considerable evolutionary plasticity. Within a single class of ciliates, Paramecium and Tetrahymena species have long been known to present a wide variety of mating type numbers and modes of inheritance, but only recently have the genes involved been identified. Although similar transmembrane proteins mediate selfnonself recognition in both ciliates, the mechanisms of mating type determination differ widely, ranging from Mendelian systems to developmental nuclear differentiation, either stochastic or maternally inherited. The non-Mendelian systems rely on programmed editing of the germline genome that occurs during differentiation of the somatic nucleus, and they have co-opted different DNA recombination mechanismssome previously unknown. Here we review the recent molecular advances and some remaining unsolved questions and discuss the possible implications of these diverse mechanisms for inbreedingoutbreeding balance regulation.
Annual Review of Microbiology – Annual Reviews
Published: Sep 8, 2017
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