Document Detail

A comparison of sexual and asexual replication strategies in a simplified model based on the yeast life cycle.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18716819     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This paper develops simplified mathematical models describing the mutation-selection balance for the asexual and sexual replication pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, or Baker's yeast. The simplified models are based on the single-fitness-peak approximation in quasispecies theory. We assume diploid genomes consisting of two chromosomes, and we assume that each chromosome is functional if and only if its base sequence is identical to some master sequence. The growth and replication of the yeast cells is modeled as a first-order process, with first-order growth rate constants that are determined by whether a given genome consists of zero, one, or two functional chromosomes. In the asexual pathway, we assume that a given diploid cell divides into two diploids. For the sake of generality, our model allows for mitotic recombination and asymmetric chromosome segregation. In the sexual pathway, we assume that a given diploid cell divides into two diploids, each of which then divide into two haploids. The resulting four haploids enter a haploid pool, where they grow and replicate until they meet another haploid with which to fuse. In the sexual pathway, we consider two mating strategies: (1) a selective strategy, where only haploids with functional chromosomes can fuse with one another; (2) a random strategy, where haploids randomly fuse with one another. When the cost for sex is low, we find that the selective mating strategy leads to the highest mean fitness of the population, when compared to all of the other strategies. When the cost for sex is low, sexual replication with random mating also has a higher mean fitness than asexual replication without mitotic recombination or asymmetric chromosome segregation. We also show that, at low replication fidelities, sexual replication with random mating has a higher mean fitness than asexual replication, as long as the cost for sex is low. If the fitness penalty for having a defective chromosome is sufficiently high and the cost for sex sufficiently low, then at low replication fidelities the random mating strategy has a mean fitness that is a factor of square root 2 larger than the asexual mean fitness. We argue that for yeast, the selective mating strategy is the one that is closer to reality, which if true suggests that sex may provide a selective advantage under considerably more relaxed conditions than previous research has indicated. The results of this paper also suggest that S. cerevisiae switches from asexual to sexual replication when stressed, because stressful growth conditions provide an opportunity for the yeast to clear out deleterious mutations from their genomes. That being said, our model does not contradict theories for the evolution of sex that argue that sex evolved because it allows a population to more easily adapt to changing conditions.
Emmanuel Tannenbaum
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2008-08-21
Journal Detail:
Title:  Theory in biosciences = Theorie in den Biowissenschaften     Volume:  127     ISSN:  1611-7530     ISO Abbreviation:  Theory Biosci.     Publication Date:  2008 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-10-31     Completed Date:  2009-03-19     Revised Date:  2009-11-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9708216     Medline TA:  Theory Biosci     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  323-33     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Chemistry, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, BeerSheba, Israel.
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MeSH Terms
Models, Biological
Reproduction, Asexual / genetics,  physiology*
Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics,  growth & development*,  physiology*
Selection, Genetic

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