The Red Queen dynamic is often brought into play for antagonistic relationships. However, the coevolutionary effects of mutualistic interactions, which predict slower evolution for interacting organisms (Red King), have been investigated to a lesser extent. Lichens are a stable, mutualistic relationship of fungi and cyanobacteria and/ or algae, which originated several times independently during the evolution of fungi. Therefore, they represent a suitable system to investigate the coevolutionary effect of mutualism on the fungal genome. We measured substitution rates and selective pressure of about 2000 protein-coding genes (plus the rDNA region) in two different classes of Ascomycota, each consisting of closely related lineages of lichenized and non-lichenized fungi. Our results show that independent lichenized clades are characterized by significantly slower rates for both synonymous and non-synonymous substitutions. We hypothesize that this evolutionary pattern is connected to the lichen life cycle (longer generation time of lichenized fungi) rather than a result of different selection strengths, which is described as the main driver for the Red Kind dynamic. This first empirical evidence of slower evolution in lichens provides an important insight on how biotic cooperative interactions are able to shape the evolution of symbiotic organisms.

Should we hail the Red King: evolutionary consequences of a mutualistic lifestyle in genomes of lichenized fungi

Ametrano CG
;
Muggia L;
2021

Abstract

The Red Queen dynamic is often brought into play for antagonistic relationships. However, the coevolutionary effects of mutualistic interactions, which predict slower evolution for interacting organisms (Red King), have been investigated to a lesser extent. Lichens are a stable, mutualistic relationship of fungi and cyanobacteria and/ or algae, which originated several times independently during the evolution of fungi. Therefore, they represent a suitable system to investigate the coevolutionary effect of mutualism on the fungal genome. We measured substitution rates and selective pressure of about 2000 protein-coding genes (plus the rDNA region) in two different classes of Ascomycota, each consisting of closely related lineages of lichenized and non-lichenized fungi. Our results show that independent lichenized clades are characterized by significantly slower rates for both synonymous and non-synonymous substitutions. We hypothesize that this evolutionary pattern is connected to the lichen life cycle (longer generation time of lichenized fungi) rather than a result of different selection strengths, which is described as the main driver for the Red Kind dynamic. This first empirical evidence of slower evolution in lichens provides an important insight on how biotic cooperative interactions are able to shape the evolution of symbiotic organisms.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ece3.8471
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/3027671
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