In most eukaryotes, mitochondrial genes mutate at a higher rate than nuclear genes. In addition, mitochondrial genes are transmitted without recombination, so slightly deleterious mutations are predicted to perpetually accumulate in mt genes. Accumulation of deleterious mutations in mt genes can potentially lead to loss of mitonuclear coadaptation. There is growing evidence that variant nuclear genes evolve so as to compensate for mitochondrial mutations and restore mitochondrial function. This is compensatory coevolution and is the focus of this chapter. The chapter also explores the idea that the many nuclear-encoded subunits in eukaryotic electron transport system enzymes were recruited to regulate and control the core catalytic reactions undertaken by the core mitochondrial subunits. It will also consider the evidence that when mutational erosion occurs, corrupted mitochondrial genotypes can be rescued by introgression of entire mitochondrial genomes. Compensatory coevolution has important implications for speciation, sexual selection, and adaptation.
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