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Data from: Hidden genetic variation in the germline genome of Tetrahymena thermophila

Citation

Dimond, Kristen L.; Zufall, Rebecca A. (2016), Data from: Hidden genetic variation in the germline genome of Tetrahymena thermophila, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k0n77

Abstract

Genome architecture varies greatly among eukaryotes. This diversity may profoundly affect the origin and maintenance of genetic variation within a population. Ciliates are microbial eukaryotes with unusual genome features, such as separation of germline and somatic genomes within a single cell and amitotic division. These features have previously been proposed to increase the rate of molecular evolution in these species. Here, we assessed the fitness effects of genetic variation in the two genomes of natural isolates of the ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila. We find more extensive genetic variation in fitness in the transcriptionally-silent germline genome than in the expressed somatic genome. Surprisingly, this variation is not primarily deleterious, but has both beneficial and deleterious effects. We conclude that Tetrahymena genome architecture allows for the maintenance of genetic variation that would otherwise be eliminated by selection. We consider the effect of selection on the two genomes and the impacts of reproductive strategies and the mechanism of sex determination on the structure of this variation.

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