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The evolution of female mole ovotestes evidences high plasticity of mammalian gonad development


Carmona, F D; Motokawa, M; Tokita, M; Tsuchiyi, K; Jiménez, R; Sánchez-Villagra, M R (2008). The evolution of female mole ovotestes evidences high plasticity of mammalian gonad development. Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution, 310B(3):259-266.

Abstract

Previous studies of the reproductive biology and genetics of European moles (Talpa spp.) showed that all females of these species have ovotestes (gonads with testicular and ovarian tissue) instead of normal ovaries, a unique specialization among mammals. Females are fertile as their ovarian tissue is fully functional. Testicular tissue is abnormal and sterile, but produces high levels of testosterone. This phenomenon also characterizes other talpid species from Europe and North America. To study the origin of this singular reproductive specialization, we examined the gonads of several female specimens belonging to two critical taxa. Although large Japanese moles (Mogera wogura) posses ovotestes, greater Japanese shrew moles (Urotrichus talpoides) are characterized by normal ovaries. The results fit parsimoniously with a recent phylogenetic study that places Urotrichus relatively basal in the talpid tree and separate from the American shrew mole. Parsimony reconstruction on alternative phylogenetic hypotheses clearly indicates that reversal(s) must have occurred and suggests that a relatively simple genetic mechanism must be associated with the evolution of female hermaphroditism in moles

Previous studies of the reproductive biology and genetics of European moles (Talpa spp.) showed that all females of these species have ovotestes (gonads with testicular and ovarian tissue) instead of normal ovaries, a unique specialization among mammals. Females are fertile as their ovarian tissue is fully functional. Testicular tissue is abnormal and sterile, but produces high levels of testosterone. This phenomenon also characterizes other talpid species from Europe and North America. To study the origin of this singular reproductive specialization, we examined the gonads of several female specimens belonging to two critical taxa. Although large Japanese moles (Mogera wogura) posses ovotestes, greater Japanese shrew moles (Urotrichus talpoides) are characterized by normal ovaries. The results fit parsimoniously with a recent phylogenetic study that places Urotrichus relatively basal in the talpid tree and separate from the American shrew mole. Parsimony reconstruction on alternative phylogenetic hypotheses clearly indicates that reversal(s) must have occurred and suggests that a relatively simple genetic mechanism must be associated with the evolution of female hermaphroditism in moles

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:06 Feb 2009 15:43
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:40
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1552-5007
Publisher DOI:10.1002/jez.b.21209
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-7377

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