Patterns of allele distribution in a hybrid population of theCryptococcus neoformansspecies complex
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BACKGROUND: The sister yeast species Cryptococcus neoformans (serotype A) and Cryptococcus deneoformans (serotype D) are causative agents of deadly cryptococcosis and fungal meningoencephalitis. These haploid yeasts can hybridise in nature, giving rise to AD hybrids that are predominantly diploid or aneuploid. Despite their increasing prevalence in clinical settings, much remains unknown about the allelic distribution patterns in AD hybrid strains. OBJECTIVES: This study aims to characterise allele distributions in AD hybrids derived from the same basidium as well as from multiple basidia in a laboratory-derived C neoformans × C deneoformans hybrid cross. METHODS: We dissected a total of 1625 basidiospores from 31 basidia. The 297 basidiospores that successfully germinated were genotyped by molecular characterisation of 33 markers using PCR-RFLP, with at least two markers on each of the 14 chromosomes in the genome. RESULTS: Of the 297 strains, 294 contained at least one heterozygous locus, with a mean heterozygosity of ~30% per strain. Most hybrid genomes and chromosomes displayed significantly distorted allele distributions, with offspring originating from the same basidium tended to have alleles at different loci from the same parent. More basidia were skewed in favour of C deneoformans alleles, the mitochondria-donor parent, than the C neoformans alleles. CONCLUSIONS: The divergence between C neoformans and C deneoformans genomes has likely created co-adapted allelic combinations, with their co-segregation in hybrid offspring imparting a significant fitness benefit. However, the diversity of genotypes recovered here in a single hybridisation event indicates the enormous capacity of AD hybrids for adaptation and diversification.
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