Data from: Coevolutionary interactions with parasites constrain the spread of self-fertilization into outcrossing host populations
Slowinski, Samuel Preston et al. (2016), Data from: Coevolutionary interactions with parasites constrain the spread of self-fertilization into outcrossing host populations, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.16ff6
Given the cost of sex, outcrossing populations should be susceptible to invasion and replacement by self-fertilization or parthenogenesis. However, biparental sex is common in nature, suggesting that cross-fertilization has substantial short-term benefits. The Red Queen hypothesis (RQH) suggests that coevolution with parasites can generate persistent selection favoring both recombination and outcrossing in host populations. We tested the prediction that coevolving parasites can constrain the spread of self-fertilization relative to outcrossing. We introduced wild-type Caenorhabditis elegans hermaphrodites, capable of both self-fertilization, and outcrossing, into C. elegans populations that were fixed for a mutant allele conferring obligate outcrossing. Replicate C. elegans populations were exposed to the parasite Serratia marcescens for 33 generations under three treatments: a control (avirulent) parasite treatment, a fixed (nonevolving) parasite treatment, and a copassaged (potentially coevolving) parasite treatment. Self-fertilization rapidly invaded C. elegans host populations in the control and the fixed-parasite treatments, but remained rare throughout the entire experiment in the copassaged treatment. Further, the frequency of the wild-type allele (which permits selfing) was strongly positively correlated with the frequency of self-fertilization across host populations at the end of the experiment. Hence, consistent with the RQH, coevolving parasites can limit the spread of self-fertilization in outcrossing populations.
National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-0640639 and DEB-1120417