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Recessive Mutations from Natural Populations of NEUROSPORA CRASSA That Are Expressed in the Sexual Diplophase

The Genetics Society of America
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  • Investigations


Wild-collected isolates of Neurospora crassa Shear and Dodge were systematically examined for recessive mutations affecting the sexual phase of the life cycle, which is essentially diploid. Seventy-four of 99 wild-collected isolates from 26 populations in the United States, India and Pakistan carried one or more recessive mutations that reduced fertility significantly when homozygous; mutations affecting spore morphology were also detected. Limited complementation tests indicate that most of the 106 recovered mutations are unique.—The recessive diplophase (= sexual phase) mutations were uncovered by crossing each wild-collected isolate to a marked two-chromosome double-reciprocal translocation strain as "balancer." Surviving progeny receive approximately 60% of their genome from the wild parent, but receive the mating-type allele from the "balancer" parent. These progeny were backcrossed to the wild parent and were also crossed with a standard laboratory strain (fl). Reduced fertility in the backcross vs. normal fertility in the cross with the laboratory standard signals the presence of a recessive mutation in the wild-collected isolate.—Most of the mutants (95 of 106) fall into two major classes: those producing barren perithecia with no or few viable ascospores (51) and those with spore maturation defects (44). Most of the recessive barrens result either from an early block in meiosis or ascus development (25) or from a late disturbance in postmeiotic ascus behavior (18).—These recessive mutations are formally equivalent to recessive lethals in higher eukaryotes and may be important in determining the breeding structure of natural Neurospora populations.

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