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Complex heterochrony underlies the evolution of Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodite sex allocation

Abstract : Hermaphroditic organisms are key models in sex allocation research, yet the developmental processes by which hermaphrodite sex allocation can evolve remain largely unknown. Here we use experimental evolution of hermaphrodite-male (androdioecious) Caenorhabditis elegans populations to quantify the developmental changes underlying adaptive shifts in hermaphrodite sex allocation. We show that the experimental evolution of increased early-life self-fertility occurred through modification of a suite of developmental traits: increased self-sperm production, accelerated oogenesis and ovulation, and increased embryo retention. The experimental evolution of increased self-sperm production delayed entry into oogenesis-as expected, given the sequentially coupled production of self-spermatogenesis and oogenesis. Surprisingly, however, delayed oogenesis onset did not delay reproductive maturity, nor did it trade-off with gamete or embryo size. Comparing developmental time dynamics of germline and soma indicates that the evolution of increased sperm production did not delay reproductive maturity due to a globally accelerated larval development during the period of self-spermatogenesis. Overall, heterochrony in gametogenesis and soma can explain adaptive shifts in hermaphrodite sex allocation.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 27, 2020 - 4:40:44 AM
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Nausicaa Poullet, Anne Vielle, Clotilde Gimond, Sara Carvalho, Henrique Teotonio, et al.. Complex heterochrony underlies the evolution of Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodite sex allocation. Evolution - International Journal of Organic Evolution, Wiley, 2016, 70 (10), pp.2357-2369. ⟨10.1111/evo.13032⟩. ⟨hal-02629987⟩



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