Recombination and loss of complementation: a more than two-fold cost for parthenogenesis

Département de Biologie, Section Ecologie et Evolution, Université de Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland.
Journal of Evolutionary Biology (Impact Factor: 3.48). 10/2004; 17(5):1084-97. DOI: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2004.00745.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Certain types of asexual reproduction lead to loss of complementation, that is unmasking of recessive deleterious alleles. A theoretical measure of this loss is calculated for apomixis, automixis and endomitosis in the cases of diploidy and polyploidy. The effect of the consequent unmasking of deleterious recessive mutations on fitness is also calculated. Results show that, depending on the number of lethal equivalents and on the frequency of recombination, the cost produced by loss of complementation after few generations of asexual reproduction may be greater than the two-fold cost of meiosis. Maintaining complementation may, therefore, provide a general short-term advantage for sexual reproduction. Apomixis can replace sexual reproduction under a wide range of parameters only if it is associated with triploidy or tetraploidy, which is consistent with our knowledge of the distribution of apomixis.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The evolutionary paradox of sex remains one of the major debates in evolutionary biology. The study of species capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction can elucidate factors important in the evolution of sex. One such species is the ant Cataglyphis cursor, where the queen maximizes the transmission of her genes by producing new queens (gynes) asexually while simultaneously maintaining a genetically diverse workforce via the sexual production of workers. We show that the queen can also produce gynes sexually and may do so to offset the costs of asexual reproduction. We genotyped 235 gynes from 18 colonies and found that half were sexually produced. A few colonies contained both sexually and asexually produced gynes. Although workers in this species can also use thelytoky, we found no evidence of worker production of gynes based on genotypes of 471 workers from the six colonies producing sexual gynes. Gynes are thus mainly, and potentially exclusively, produced by the queen. Simulations of gynes inbreeding level following one to ten generations of automictic thelytoky suggest that the queen switches between or combines thelytoky and sex, which may reduce the costs of inbreeding. This is supported by the relatively small size of inbred gynes in one colony, although we found no relationship between the level of inbreeding and immune parameters. Such facultative use of sex and thelytoky by individual queens contrasts with other known forms of parthenogenesis in ants, which are typically characterized by distinct lineages specializing in one strategy or the other.
    Journal of Evolutionary Biology 05/2013; 26(6):1431-1444. DOI:10.1111/jeb.12142 · 3.48 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A life-history transition to asexuality is typically viewed as leading to a heightened extinction risk, and a number of studies have evaluated this claim by examining the relative ages of asexual versus closely related sexual lineages. Surprisingly, a rigorous assessment of the age of an asexual plant lineage has never been published, although asexuality is extraordinarily common among plants. Here, we estimate the ages of sexual diploids and asexual polyploids in the fern genus Astrolepis using a well-supported plastid phylogeny and a relaxed-clock dating approach. The 50 asexual polyploid samples we included were conservatively estimated to comprise 19 distinct lineages, including a variety of auto- and allopolyploid genomic combinations. All were either the same age or younger than the crown group comprising their maternal sexual-diploid parents based simply on their phylogenetic position. Node ages estimated with the relaxed-clock approach indicated that the average maximum age of asexual lineages was 0.4 My, and individual lineages were on average 7 to 47 times younger than the crown- and total-ages of their sexual parents. Although the confounding association between asexuality and polyploidy precludes definite conclusions regarding the effect of asexuality, our results suggest that asexuality limits evolutionary potential in Astrolepis.
    Evolution 11/2011; 65(11):3217-29. DOI:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01362.x · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clonal reproduction in vertebrates can always be traced back to hybridization events as all known unisexual vertebrates are hybrids between recognized species or genetically defined races. Interestingly, clonal vertebrates often also rely on interspecific matings for their reproduction because gynogenesis (sperm-dependent parthenogenesis) and hybridogenesis are common modes of propagation. While in most cases these hybridization events leave no hereditary traces in the offspring, occasionally the genome exclusion mechanism fails and either small parts of male genetic material remain inside the oocyte in the form of microchromosomes, or fusion of the sperm nucleus with the oocyte nucleus leads to polyploid individuals. In this review, we highlight the important role of hybridization for the origin and evolution of a unisexual hybrid: the Amazon molly, Poecilia formosa.
    Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences 06/2008; 363(1505):2901-9. DOI:10.1098/rstb.2008.0040 · 6.31 Impact Factor


1 Download
Available from