In this study, we tested the hypothesis that maternal effects on offspring production and quality are greater than paternal effects in both offspring number (fertility) and offspring viability (mortality). We used the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. This fungus is anisogamous, obligately outcrossing with two mating types (mat-A and mat-a), and hermaphroditic. We designed a fully crossed mating scheme using 11 mat-A and 11 mat-a N. crassa strains chosen from a set of 24 mat-A and 24 mat-a strains from North America, the Caribbean, and Africa that were genotyped previously (Ellison, Hall, & Kowbel 2011). Precise genetic distances between mating pairs were calculated to control for the effects of crossing distance on offspring production. We performed reciprocal crosses of all 121 strain pairings and collected data on perithecial production, ascospore (sexual spore) production, and various ascospore characteristics. Mixed effects models of these data show that the female parent accounts for the majority of variation in perithecial production, number of spores produced, and spore germination. Surprisingly, both sexes equally influence the percentage of spores that are pigmented. In this fungus, pigmented spores are viable and unpigmented spores are inviable. These results show that while both parents influence all these traits, maternal influence is strongest on both fertility and mortality traits until the spores are physiologically independent of the maternal cytoplasm.
|Publication status||Published - 2014|