Heterosis is prevalent among domesticated but not wild strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae

M. Plech, J.A.G.M. de Visser, R. Korona

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Crosses between inbred but unrelated individuals often result in an increased fitness of the progeny. This phenomenon is known as heterosis and has been reported for wild and domesticated populations of plants and animals. Analysis of heterosis is often hindered by the fact that the genetic relatedness between analyzed organisms is only approximately known. We studied a collection of Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates from wild and human-created habitats whose genomes were sequenced and thus their relatedness was fully known. We reasoned that if these strains accumulated different deleterious mutations at an approximately constant rate, then heterosis should be most visible in F1 heterozygotes from the least related parents. We found that heterosis was substantial and positively correlated with sequence divergence, but only in domesticated strains. More than 80% of the heterozygous hybrids were more fit than expected from the mean of their homozygous parents, and approximately three-quarters of those exceeded even the fittest parent. Our results support the notion that domestication brings about relaxation of selection and accumulation of deleterious mutations. However, other factors may have contributed as well. In particular, the observed build-up of genetic load might be facilitated by a decrease, and not increase, in the rate of inbreeding
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-323
JournalG3 : Genes Genomes Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • history trade-offs
  • inbreeding depression
  • deleterious mutations
  • outbreeding depression
  • population genomics
  • yeast
  • evolution
  • load
  • consequences
  • accumulation


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