A selfish genetic element linked to increased lifespan impacts metabolism in female house mice [SHORT COMMUNICATION]

Patricia C. Lopes and Anna K. Lindholm

Gene drive systems can lead to the evolution of traits that further enhance the transmission of the driving element. In gene drive, one allele is transmitted to offspring at a higher frequency than the homologous allele. This has a range of consequences, which generally include a reduction in fitness of the carrier of the driving allele, making such systems ‘selfish’. The t haplotype is one such driver, found in house mice. It is linked to a reduction in litter size in matings among heterozygous animals, but also to increased lifespan in wild females that carry it. Here, we tested whether carrying the t haplotype was associated with altered resting metabolic rate (RMR). We show that females carrying the t haplotype decrease RMR as they increase in size, compared with wild-type females or males of either genotype. Our study elucidates a plausible mechanism by which a selfish genetic element increases lifespan.

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