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Data from: A meta-analysis of the strength and nature of cytoplasmic genetic effects

Cite this dataset

Dobler, Ralph; Rogell, Björn; Budar, Françoise; Dowling, Damian K. (2014). Data from: A meta-analysis of the strength and nature of cytoplasmic genetic effects [Dataset]. Dryad.


Genetic variation in cytoplasmic genomes (i.e. the mitochondrial genome in animals, and the combined mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes in plants) was traditionally assumed to accumulate under a neutral equilibrium model. This view has, however, come under increasing challenge from studies that have experimentally linked cytoplasmic genetic effects to the expression of life history phenotypes. Such results suggest that genetic variance located within the cytoplasm might be of evolutionary importance and potentially involved in shaping population evolutionary trajectories. As a step towards assessing this assertion, here we conduct a formal meta-analytic review to quantitatively assess the extent to which cytoplasmic genetic effects contribute to phenotypic expression across animal and plant kingdoms. We report that cytoplasmic effect sizes are generally moderate in size and associated with variation across a range of factors. Specifically, cytoplasmic effects on morphological traits are generally larger than those on life history or metabolic traits. Cytoplasmic effect sizes estimated at the between-species scale (via interspecies mix-and-matching of cytoplasmic and nuclear genomes) are larger than those at the within-species scale. Furthermore, cytoplasmic effects tied to epistatic interactions with the nuclear genome tend to be stronger than additive cytoplasmic effects, at least when restricting the data set to gonochorous animal species. Our results thus confirm that cytoplasmic genetic variation is commonly tied to phenotypic expression across plants and animals, implicate the cytoplasmic–nuclear interaction as a key unit on which natural selection acts and generally suggest that the genetic variation that lies within the cytoplasm is likely to be entwined in adaptive evolutionary processes.

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