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Single-locus recessive inheritance of asexual reproduction in a parasitoid wasp


Sandrock, C; Vorburger, C (2011). Single-locus recessive inheritance of asexual reproduction in a parasitoid wasp. Current Biology, 21(5):433-437.

Abstract

The evolutionary maintenance of sex is one of the big unresolved puzzles in biology [1]. All else being equal, all-female asexual populations should enjoy a two-fold reproductive advantage over sexual relatives consisting of male and female individuals [1]. However, the ‘‘all else being equal’’ assumption rarely holds in real organisms because asexuality tends to be confounded with altered genomic constitutions such as hybridization [2] and polyploidization [3] or to be associated with parthenogenesis-inducing microbes [4, 5]. This limits the ability to draw general conclusions from any particular system. Here we describe a new system that permits unbiased comparisons of sexual and asexual reproduction: the parasitic wasp Lysiphlebus fabarum. Crossing experiments demonstrated that asexual reproduction has a simple genetic basis in this species and is consistently inherited as a single-locus recessive trait. We further show that the asexuality-inducing allele exhibits complete linkage to a specific allele at a microsatellite marker: all
asexual lines in the field were homozygous for this allele,
and the allele cosegregated perfectly with asexual reproduction in our experimental crossings. This novel system of contagious asexuality allows the production of closely related individuals with different reproductive modes, as well as the monitoring of the asexuality-inducing allele in natural and experimental populations.

The evolutionary maintenance of sex is one of the big unresolved puzzles in biology [1]. All else being equal, all-female asexual populations should enjoy a two-fold reproductive advantage over sexual relatives consisting of male and female individuals [1]. However, the ‘‘all else being equal’’ assumption rarely holds in real organisms because asexuality tends to be confounded with altered genomic constitutions such as hybridization [2] and polyploidization [3] or to be associated with parthenogenesis-inducing microbes [4, 5]. This limits the ability to draw general conclusions from any particular system. Here we describe a new system that permits unbiased comparisons of sexual and asexual reproduction: the parasitic wasp Lysiphlebus fabarum. Crossing experiments demonstrated that asexual reproduction has a simple genetic basis in this species and is consistently inherited as a single-locus recessive trait. We further show that the asexuality-inducing allele exhibits complete linkage to a specific allele at a microsatellite marker: all
asexual lines in the field were homozygous for this allele,
and the allele cosegregated perfectly with asexual reproduction in our experimental crossings. This novel system of contagious asexuality allows the production of closely related individuals with different reproductive modes, as well as the monitoring of the asexuality-inducing allele in natural and experimental populations.

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34 citations in Web of Science®
35 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:21 Mar 2011 14:11
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:53
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0960-9822
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.070
PubMed ID:21353557
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-47566

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