Standard Deviations: The Biological Bases of Transmission Ratio Distortion

Lila Fishman, Mariah Mcintosh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The rule of Mendelian inheritance is remarkably robust, but deviations from the equal transmission of alternative alleles at a locus a.k.a. transmission ratio distortion (TRD) are also commonly observed in genetic mapping populations. Such TRD reveals locus-specific selection acting at some point between the diploid heterozygous parents and progeny genotyping and therefore can provide novel insight into otherwise-hidden genetic and evolutionary processes. Most of the classic selfish genetic elements were discovered through their biasing of transmission, but many unselfish evolutionary and developmental processes can also generate TRD. In this review, we describe methodologies for detecting TRD in mapping populations, detail the arenas and genetic interactions that shape TRD during plant and animal reproduction, and summarize patterns of TRD from across the genetic mapping literature. Finally, we point to new experimental approaches that can accelerate both detection of TRD and characterization of the underlying genetic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)347-372
Number of pages26
JournalAnnual Review of Genetics
StatePublished - 2019


  • hybrid incompatibility
  • inbreeding depression
  • meiotic drive
  • non-Mendelian inheritance
  • segregation distortion
  • selfish genetic element


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