Widespread Genomic Incompatibilities in Caenorhabditis elegans

L.B. Snoek, H.E. Orbidans, J. Stastna, A. Aartse, M. Rodriguez Sanchez, J.A.G. Riksen, J.E. Kammenga, S.C. Harvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


In the Bateson-Dobzhansky-Muller (BDM) model of speciation, incompatibilities emerge from the deleterious interactions between alleles that are neutral or advantageous in the original genetic backgrounds, i.e. negative epistatic effects. Within species such interactions are responsible for outbreeding depression and F2 (hybrid) breakdown. We sought to identify BDM incompatibilities in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans by looking for genomic regions that disrupt egg laying; a complex, highly regulated and coordinated phenotype. Investigation of introgression lines and recombinant inbred lines derived from the isolates CB4856 and N2 uncovered multiple incompatibility quantitative trait loci (QTL). These QTL produce a synthetic egg-laying defective phenotype not seen in CB4856 and N2 nor in other wild isolates. For two of the QTL regions, results are inconsistent with a model of pairwise interaction between two loci, suggesting that the incompatibilities are a consequence of complex interactions between multiple loci. Analysis of additional life history traits indicates that the QTL regions identified in these screens are associated with effects on other traits such as lifespan and reproduction, suggesting that the incompatibilities are likely to be deleterious. Taken together, these results indicate that numerous BDM incompatibilities that could contribute to reproductive isolation can be detected and mapped within C. elegans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1813-1823
JournalG3 : Genes Genomes Genetics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • cryptic genetic-variation
  • natural variation data
  • life-history traits
  • c. elegans
  • outbreeding depression
  • hybrid sterility
  • reproductive isolation
  • tribolium-castaneum
  • population-genetics
  • synthetic lethals


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