Unusual Patterns of Mitochondrial Inheritance in the Brown Alga Ectocarpus

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Most eukaryotes inherit their mitochondria from only one of their parents. When there are different sexes, it is almost always the maternal mitochondria that are transmitted. Indeed, maternal uniparental inheritance has been reported for the brown alga Ectocarpus but we show in this study that different strains of Ectocarpus can exhibit different patterns of inheritance: Ectocarpus siliculosus strains showed maternal uniparental inheritance, as expected, but crosses using different Ectocarpus species 7 strains exhibited either paternal uniparental inheritance or an unusual pattern of transmission where progeny inherited either maternal or paternal mitochondria, but not both. A possible correlation between the pattern of mitochondrial inheritance and male gamete parthenogenesis was investigated. Moreover, in contrast to observations in the green lineage, we did not detect any change in the pattern of mitochondrial inheritance in mutant strains affected in life cycle progression. Finally, an analysis of field-isolated strains provided evidence of mitochondrial genome recombination in both Ectocarpus species.




Mignerot, L., Nagasato, C., Peters, A. F., Perrineau, M. M., Scornet, D., Pontheaux, F., … Cock, J. M. (2019). Unusual Patterns of Mitochondrial Inheritance in the Brown Alga Ectocarpus. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 36(12), 2778–2789. https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msz186

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