B chromosomes (Bs) are enigmatic additional elements in the genomes of thousands of species of plants, animals, and fungi. How do these non-essential, harmful, and parasitic chromosomes maintain their presence in their hosts, making demands on all the essential functions of their host genomes? The answer seems to be that they have mechanisms of drive which enable them to enhance their transmission rates by various processes of non-mendelian inheritance. It is also becoming increasingly clear that the host genomes are developing their own mechanisms to resist the impact of the harmful effects of the Bs.
- B chromosomes
- Host/parasite interaction