Neo-sex chromosome inheritance across species inSilenehybrids

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Abstract

Neo-sex chromosomes, which form through the major restructuring of ancestral sex chromosome systems, have evolved in various taxa. Such restructuring often consists of the fusion of an autosome to an existing sex chromosome, resulting in novel sex chromosome formations (e.g. X1X2Y or XY1Y2.). Comparative studies are often made between restructured sex chromosome systems of closely related species, and here we evaluate the consequences of variable sex chromosome systems to hybrids. If neo-sex chromosomes are improperly inherited across species, this could lead to aberrant development and reproductive isolation. In this study, we examine the fate of neo-sex chromosomes in hybrids of the flowering plants Silene diclinis and Silene latifolia. Silene diclinis has a neo-sex chromosome system (XY1Y2) that is thought to have evolved from an ancestral XY system that is still present in S. latifolia. These species do not hybridize naturally, and improper sex chromosome inheritance could contribute to reproductive isolation. We investigated whether this major restructuring of sex chromosomes prevents their proper inheritance in a variety of hybrid crosses, including some F2- and later-generation hybrids, with sex chromosome-linked, species-specific, polymorphic markers and chromosome squashes. We discovered that despite the differences in sex chromosomes that exist between these two species, proper segregation had occurred in hybrids that made it to flowering, including later-generation hybrids, indicating that neo-sex chromosome formation alone does not result in complete reproductive isolation between these two species. Additionally, hybrids with aberrant sex expression (e.g. neuter, hermaphrodite) also inherited the restructured sex chromosomes properly, highlighting that issues with sexual development in hybrids can be caused by intrinsic genetic incompatibility rather than improper sex chromosome inheritance.

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