Distribution patterns of number of nuclei in conidia from heterokaryons of Heterobasidion annosum (Fr.) Bref. and their interpretation in terms of genomic conflict



Ratios of nuclear genotypes observed in conidia from heterokaryotic strains of Heterobasidion annosum (Fr.) Bref., obtained from pairings between sympatrically derived, sib-related and non-sib-related homokaryons, commonly deviated from 1:1. Ratios were temporally stable, and the genotypes examined could be ranked in a strict dominance hierarchy, linked both to the relatedness of the association partners and to the growth rates of the parental homokaryons. Parental homokaryons and sibrelated heterokaryons produced conidia with a mean number of nuclei of about two, whereas non-sib-related-d heterokaryons produced conidia that were predominantly uninucleate. Moreover, whereas conidia containing more than one nucleus germinated most rapidly when derived from homokaryons or sib-related heterokaryons, uninucleate conidia germinated more readily if derived from non-sib-related heterokaryons. In a study of naturally occurring heterokaryons, distribution patterns of the number of nuclei in conidia were found to be similar to those of the homokaryons. The possible interpretation of these findings in terms of inter-nuclear genomic conflict is discussed.