View Full Version : Motherís curse neutralizes natural selection against a human genetic disease

09-22-2017, 03:36 PM
Interesting article linking genetics and genealogy :


Official citation:
TY - JOUR AU - Milot, Emmanuel AU - Moreau, Claudia AU - Gagnon, Alain AU - Cohen, Alan A. AU - Brais, Bernard AU - Labuda, Damian PY - 2017 DA - 2017/09/01 TI - Mother'ôs curse neutralizes natural selection against a human genetic disease over three centuries JO - Nature Ecology & Evolution SP - 1400 EP - 1406 VL - 1 IS - 9 AB - According to evolutionary theory, mitochondria could be poisoned gifts that mothers transmit to their sons. This is because mutations harmful to males are expected to accumulate in the mitochondrial genome, the so-called "mother's curse"ô. However, the contribution of the mother'ôs curse to the mutation load in nature remains largely unknown and hard to predict, because compensatory mechanisms could impede the spread of deleterious mitochondria. Here we provide evidence for the mother'ôs curse in action over 290 years in a human population. We studied a mutation causing Leber'ôs hereditary optical neuropathy, a disease with male-biased prevalence and which has long been suspected to be maintained in populations by the mother's curse. Male carriers showed a low fitness relative to non-carriers and to females, mostly explained by their high rate of infant mortality. Despite poor male fitness, selection analysis predicted a slight (albeit non-significant) increase in frequency, which sharply contrasts with the 35.5% per-generation decrease predicted if mitochondrial DNA transmission had been through males instead of females. Our results are therefore even suggestive of positive selection through the female line that may exacerbate effects of the mother's curse. This study supports a contribution of the mother‚Äôs curse to the reduction of male lifespan, uncovering a large fitness effect associated with a single mitochondrial variant. SN - 2397-334X UR - https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-017-0276-6 DO - 10.1038/s41559-017-0276-6 ID - Milot2017 ER -