Reference: Ambrona J and Ramirez M (2007) Analysis of Homothallic Saccharomyces cerevisiae Strain Mating during Must Fermentation. Appl Environ Microbiol 73(8):2486-90

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Abstract

Genetic instability and genome renewal may cause loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in homothallic wine yeasts, leading to the elimination of the recessive lethal or deleterious alleles that decrease yeast fitness. LOH was not detected in genetically-stable wine yeasts during must fermentation. However, after sporulation, the heterozygosity of the new yeast population decreased during must fermentation. The frequency of mating between just-germinated haploid cells from different tetrads was very low, and the mating of haploid cells from the same ascus was favoured because of the physical proximity. Also, mating restriction between haploid cells from the same ascus was found, leading to a very low frequency of self spore-clone mating. This mating restriction slowed down the LOH process of the yeast population, maintaining the heterozygote frequency higher than would be expected assuming a fully random mating of the haploid yeasts, or according to the Mortimer's genome renewal proposal. The observed LOH occurs because of the linkage of the locus MAT to the chromosome III centromere, without the necessity for self spore-clone mating, or the high frequency of gene conversion and rapid asymmetric LOH observed in genetically unstable yeasts. This phenomenon is enough in itself to explain the high level of homozygosis found in natural populations of wine yeasts. The LOH process for centromere-linked markers would be slower than for the non-linked markers, because the linkage decreases the frequency of newly originated heterozygous yeasts after each round of sporulation and mating. This phenomenon is interesting in yeast evolution, and may cause important sudden phenotype changes in genetically stable wine yeasts.

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Journal Article
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Ambrona J, Ramirez M
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