Asexual Reproduction (asexual + reproduction)

Distribution by Scientific Domains
Distribution within Life Sciences

Selected Abstracts


EVOLUTION, Issue 4 2010
Sofia Adolfsson
Transitions from sexual to asexual reproduction are often coupled with elevations in ploidy. As a consequence, the importance of ploidy per se for the maintenance and spread of asexual populations is unclear. To examine the effects of ploidy and asexual reproduction as independent determinants of the success of asexual lineages, we sampled diploid sexual, diploid asexual, and triploid asexual Eucypris virens ostracods across a European wide range. Applying nuclear and mitochondrial markers, we found that E. virens consists of genetically highly differentiated diploid sexual populations, to the extent that these sexual clades could be considered as cryptic species. All sexual populations were found in southern Europe and North Africa and we found that both diploid asexual and triploid asexual lineages have originated multiple times from several sexual lineages. Therefore, the asexual lineages show a wide variety of genetic backgrounds and very strong population genetic structure across the wide geographic range. Finally, we found that triploid, but not diploid, asexual clones dominate habitats in northern Europe. The limited distribution of diploid asexual lineages, despite their shared ancestry with triploid asexual lineages, strongly suggests that the wider geographic distribution of triploids is due to elevated ploidy rather than to asexuality. [source]

Reproductive Biology of Invertebrates, Volume XI: Progress in Asexual Reproduction

ETHOLOGY, Issue 12 2003
Stephen M. Shuster
No abstract is available for this article. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 10 2008
Stacey Lee Thompson
Asexual reproduction has the potential to promote population structuring through matings between clones as well as through limited dispersal of related progeny. Here we present an application of three-gene identity coefficients that tests whether clonal reproduction promotes inbreeding and spatial relatedness within populations. With this method, the first two genes are sampled to estimate pairwise relatedness or inbreeding, whereas the third gene is sampled from either a clone or a sexually derived individual. If three-gene coefficients are significantly greater for clones than nonclones, then clonality contributes excessively to genetic structure. First, we describe an estimator of three-gene identity and briefly evaluate its properties. We then use this estimator to test the effect of clonality on the genetic structure within populations of yellow-cedar (Callitropsis nootkatensis) using a molecular marker survey. Five microsatellite loci were genotyped for 485 trees sampled from nine populations. Our three-gene analyses show that clonal ramets promote inbreeding and spatial structure in most populations. Among-population correlations between clonal extent and genetic structure generally support these trends, yet with less statistical significance. Clones appear to contribute to genetic structure through the limited dispersal of offspring from replicated ramets of the same clonal genet, whereas this structure is likely maintained by mating among these relatives. [source]


M. Virginia Sanchez-Puerta
The genus Pseudulvella Wille 1909 includes epiphytic, freshwater, or marine disk-shaped green microalgae that form quadriflagellate zoospores. No ultrastructural or molecular studies have been conducted on the genus, and its evolutionary relationships remain unclear. The purpose of the present study is to describe the life history, ultrastructural features, and phylogenetic affiliations of Pseudulvella americana (Snow) Wille, the type species of the genus. Thalli of this microalga were prostrate and composed of radiating branched filaments that coalesced to form a disk. Vegetative cells had a pyrenoid encircled by starch plates and traversed by one or two convoluted cytoplasmic channels. They had well-defined cell walls without plasmodesmata. Asexual reproduction was by means of tetraflagellate zoospores formed in numbers of two to eight from central cells of the thallus. The flagellar apparatus of zoospores was cruciate, with four basal bodies and four microtubular roots. The paired basal bodies lay directly opposite (DO) one another. The microtubular root system had a 5-2-5-2 alternation pattern, where the "s" roots contained five microtubules in a four-over-one configuration. A tetralobate nonstriated distal fiber connected all four basal bodies. A wedge-shaped proximal sheath subtended each of the basal bodies. The ultrastructural features of the zoospores were those of members of the order Chaetopeltidales. Phylogenetic analyses based on SSU rDNA placed P. americana sister to Chaetopeltis orbicularis in a well-supported Chaetopeltidales clade. Such a combination of features confirmed that this alga is a member of the order Chaetopeltidales. [source]

Sexual devolution in plants: apomixis uncloaked?

BIOESSAYS, Issue 9 2008
Richard D. Noyes
There are a growing number of examples where naturally occurring mutations disrupt an established physiological or developmental pathway to yield a new condition that is evolutionary favored. Asexual reproduction by seed in plants, or apomixis, occurs in a diversity of taxa and has evolved from sexual ancestors. One form of apomixis, diplospory, is a multi-step development process that is initiated when meiosis is altered to produce an unreduced rather than a reduced egg cell. Subsequent parthenogenetic development of the unreduced egg yields genetically maternal progeny. While it has long been apparent from cytological data that meiosis in apomicts was malfunctional or completely bypassed, the genetic basis of the phenomenon has been a long-standing mystery. New data from genetic analysis of Arabidopsis mutants1 in combination with more sophisticated molecular understanding of meiosis in plants indicate that a weak mutation of the gene SWI, called DYAD, interferes with sister chromatid cohesion in meiosis I, causes synapsis to fail in female meiosis and yields two unreduced cells. The new work shows that a low percentage of DYAD ovules produce functional unreduced egg cells (2n) that can be fertilized by haploid pollen (1n) to give rise to triploid (3n) progeny. While the DYAD mutants differ in some aspects from naturally occurring apomicts, the work establishes that mutation to a single gene can effectively initiate apomictic development and, furthermore, focuses efforts to isolate apomixis genes on a narrowed set of developmental events. Profitable manipulation of meiosis and recombination in agronomically important crops may be on the horizon. BioEssays 30:798,801, 2008. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. [source]

Use of freshwater rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus in screening assay for potential endocrine disruptors

Benjamin L. Preston
Abstract eports of the effectsofendocrinedisruptorsonaquatic invertebrates arebecoming increasingly common. However, little is known about the endocrine systems of most aquatic invertebrates, limiting the development of assays based on endocrine mechanisms. As a result, endocrine disruption is often inferred through the effects caused by the chemical of interest, making it difficult to rule out other mechanisms of toxicity. To be a good candidate for an endocrine disruptor, effects should be observed in processes known to be under endocrine control, at life stages where endocrine signals are known to be active, and at concentrations below acute and chronic toxic effects. We developed a 96-h reproductive assay using the freshwater rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus to screen for potential endocrine disruptors and examined cadmium, chlorpyrifos, naphthol, pentachlorophenol, estradiol, methoprene, precocene, nonylphenol, flutamide, and testosterone for effects on asexual and sexual reproduction. Flutamide, testosterone, and nonylphenol inhibited fertilization of sexual females at concentrations of 1, 10, and 50 ,g/L, respectively. The fertilization no-observable-effect concentrations (NOECs) for these compounds were 5 to 200 times lower than previously described reproduction NOECs for B. calyciflorus. Sexual reproduction was inhibited with no effects on asexual reproduction, increasing the likelihood that these specific reproductive effects occurred through an endocrine mechanism. Rotifer reproduction assays may be a useful, rapid, and inexpensive method for screening compounds suspected to have endocrine disrupting activity in aquatic invertebrates. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 4 2010
Sofia Adolfsson
Transitions from sexual to asexual reproduction are often coupled with elevations in ploidy. As a consequence, the importance of ploidy per se for the maintenance and spread of asexual populations is unclear. To examine the effects of ploidy and asexual reproduction as independent determinants of the success of asexual lineages, we sampled diploid sexual, diploid asexual, and triploid asexual Eucypris virens ostracods across a European wide range. Applying nuclear and mitochondrial markers, we found that E. virens consists of genetically highly differentiated diploid sexual populations, to the extent that these sexual clades could be considered as cryptic species. All sexual populations were found in southern Europe and North Africa and we found that both diploid asexual and triploid asexual lineages have originated multiple times from several sexual lineages. Therefore, the asexual lineages show a wide variety of genetic backgrounds and very strong population genetic structure across the wide geographic range. Finally, we found that triploid, but not diploid, asexual clones dominate habitats in northern Europe. The limited distribution of diploid asexual lineages, despite their shared ancestry with triploid asexual lineages, strongly suggests that the wider geographic distribution of triploids is due to elevated ploidy rather than to asexuality. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 1 2002
Abstract According to classical evolutionary theory, sexual recombination can generate the variation necessary to adapt to changing environments and thereby confer an evolutionary advantage of sexual over asexual reproduction. Using the green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, we investigated the effect of a single sexual episode on adaptation of heterotrophic growth on different carbon sources. In an initial mixture of isolates, sex was induced and the resulting offspring constituted the sexual populations, along with any unmated vegetative cells; the unmated mixture of isolates represented the asexual populations. Mean and variance in division rates (i.e., fitness) were measured four times during approximately 50 generations of vegetative growth in the dark on all possible combinations of four carbon sources. Consistent with effects of recombination of epistatic genes in linkage disequilibrium, sexual populations initially had a higher variance in fitness, but their mean fitness was lower than that of asexual populations, possibly due to recombinational load. Subsequently, fitness of sexual populations exceeded that of asexual ones, but finally they regained parity in both mean and variance of fitness. Although recombination was not more effective on more complex substrates, these results generally support the idea that sex can accelerate adaptation to novel environments. [source]

Vascular regeneration and angiogenic-like sprouting mechanism in a compound ascidian is similar to vertebrates

Fabio Gasparini
SUMMARY Tunicates are useful models for comparing differing developmental processes such as embryogenesis, asexual reproduction, and regeneration, because they are the closest relatives to vertebrates and are the only chordates to reproduce both sexually and asexually. Among them, the ascidian Botryllus schlosseri displays high regenerative potential of the colonial circulatory system (CCS). The CCS runs in the common tunic, forming an anastomized network of vessels defined by simple epithelia and connected to the open circulatory system of the zooids. During asexual propagation, new vessels form by means of a tubular-sprouting mechanism, resembling that occurring in other metazoans, particularly during vertebrate angiogenesis. We studied the regeneration of experimentally ablated CCS by analyzing the general dynamics of reorganization of vessels and tunic, their ultrastructure, cell proliferation, and the immunohistology of regenerating structures using antibodies against vertebrate angiogenic factors-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and receptors: VEGFR-1, VEGFR-2, and EGFR. Results show that the regenerative process of CCS occurs by a sprouting mechanism, with participation of angiogenic factors. They also show correspondence between the CCS sprouting of B. schlosseri and angiogenic sprouting in vertebrates, during both normal development and regeneration, and support the idea that this morphogenetic mechanism was co-opted during the evolution of various developmental processes in different taxa. [source]

Production of asexual and sexual offspring in the triploid sexual planarian Dugesia ryukyuensis

Abstract Certain freshwater planarians reproduce asexually as well as sexually, and their chromosomal ploidies include polyploidy, aneuploidy and mixoploidy. Previously, we successfully performed an experiment in which a clonal population produced by asexual reproduction of the Dugesia ryukyuensis (OH strain) switched to the sexual mode of reproduction. Worms of this strain are triploid with a pericentric inversion on Chromosome 4. The worms were switched to sexual reproduction after being fed with sexually mature Bdellocephala brunnea, which is a sexually reproducing species. The resulting sexualized OH strain produced cocoons filled with several eggs. Two putative factors, Mendelian factor(s) and chromosomal control(s), have been proposed as determining the reproductive mode. The present study demonstrated that inbreeding of the resultant sexualized worms produced the following four types of offspring through sexual reproduction: diploid asexual worms, triploid asexual worms, diploid sexual worms and triploid sexual worms. The chromosomal mutation on Chromosome 4 was inherited by these offspring independent of their reproductive mode. These results provide two important pieces of information: (i) the putative genetic factor was not necessarily inherited in a Mendelian fashion; and (ii) the reproductive mode is not regulated by chromosomal changes such as polyploidy or chromosomal mutations. This suggests that asexuality in D. ryukyuensis is regulated by an unknown factor(s) other than a Mendelian factor or a chromosomal control. [source]

Comparison of developmental trajectories in the starlet sea anemone Nematostella vectensis: embryogenesis, regeneration, and two forms of asexual fission

Adam M. Reitzel
Abstract. The starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, is a small burrowing estuarine animal, native to the Atlantic coast of North America. In recent years, this anemone has emerged as a model system in cnidarian developmental biology. Molecular studies of embryology and larval development in N. vectensis have provided important insights into the evolution of key metazoan traits. However, the adult body plan of N. vectensis may arise via four distinct developmental trajectories: (1) embryogenesis following sexual reproduction, (2) asexual reproduction via physal pinching, (3) asexual reproduction via polarity reversal, and (4) regeneration following bisection through the body column. Here, we compare the ontogenetic sequences underlying alternate developmental trajectories. Additionally, we describe the predictable generation of anomalous phenotypes that can occur following localized injuries to the body column. These studies suggest testable hypotheses on the molecular mechanisms underlying alternate developmental trajectories, and they provoke new questions about the evolution of novel developmental trajectories and their initiation via environmental cues. [source]

Association of the sponge Tethya orphei (Porifera, Demospongiae) with filamentous cyanobacteria

Elda Gaino
Abstract. Specimens of the sponge Tethya orphei, collected in February 2005 on the underside of coral stones on Arì Athol (Maldives), have been processed for histological and ultrastructural investigations. The cortical layer of the sponge was found to be permeated by filamentous cyanobacteria, the trichomes of which measured 45,63 ,m on average and were composed of 10,14 cells. The fine organization of the filaments was consistent with their taxonomic identification as Oscillatoria spongeliae. These filaments filled the cortical region of the sponge and penetrated inward into the upper choanosomal region, where they sometimes overlapped the siliceous spicule bundles. A budding specimen of T. orphei showed that the filaments were also present in the single bud protruding from the sponge surface, demonstrating that asexual reproduction can vertically transmit these symbionts from sponge to sponge. The occurrence of filaments in all the specimens studied is consistent with the assumption that filamentous cyanobacteria are not mere intruders but mutualistic symbionts with members of T. orphei. [source]

Sexual vs. asexual reproduction in an ecosystem engineer: the massive coral Montastraea annularis

Summary 1Long-lived sedentary organisms with a massive morphology are often assumed to utilize a storage effect whereby the persistence of a small group of adults can maintain the population when sexual recruitment fails. However, employing storage effects could prove catastrophic if, under changing climatic conditions, the time period between favourable conditions becomes so prolonged that the population cannot be sustained solely be sexual recruitment. When a species has multiple reproductive options, a rapidly changing environment may favour alternative asexual means of propagation. 2Here, we revisit the importance of asexual dispersal in a massive coral subject to severe climate-induced disturbance. Montastraea annularis is a major framework-builder of Caribbean coral reefs but its survival is threatened by the increasing cover of macroalgae that prevents settlement of coral larvae. 3To estimate levels of asexual recruitment within populations of M. annularis, samples from three sites in Honduras were genotyped using four, polymorphic microsatellite loci. 4A total of 114 unique genets were identified with 8% consisting of two or more colonies and an exceptionally large genet at the third site comprising 14 colonies. 5At least 70% of multicolony genets observed were formed by physical breakage, consistent with storm damage. 6Our results reveal that long-lived massive corals can propagate using asexual methods even though sexual strategies predominate. [source]

Severely reduced sexual reproduction in northern populations of a clonal plant, Decodonverticillatus (Lythraceae)

Marcel E. Dorken
Summary 1,In flowering plants the balance between sexual and clonal, asexual reproduction can vary widely. We quantified variation in sexual reproduction in a tristylous, clonal, aquatic plant, Decodon verticillatus, and investigated the role of ecological and genetic factors in causing this variation. 2,We surveyed components of sexual fertility and vegetative growth in 28 populations distributed along a 500-km latitudinal transect in New England, USA. Northerly populations tend to be monomorphic (M) for style length, and probably therefore have reduced sexual reproduction compared with southerly, trimorphic (T) populations. 3,Compared with T populations (n = 10), M populations (n = 18) exhibited large reductions for all components of sexual reproduction, including flower production, pollen deposition, pollen tube growth, fertilization, fruit set and seeds per fruit. Seven M populations produced no seed at all, and the other 11 very little (mean = 24 vs. 1139 seeds per plant in trimorphic populations). Clonal propagation was also greatly reduced in M populations. 4,A survey of three polymorphic allozyme loci detected only single, usually heterozygous, genotypes in 15 M populations, whereas all T populations were genotypically diverse. The other three M populations contained three or fewer genotypes and one always predominated. Sexual recruitment is therefore extremely rare. 5,Comparison of the sexual fertility of M and T populations in a concurrent common glasshouse experiment with our field data revealed that reduced sexual performance in northern M populations is principally due to genetic factors, but is also caused by ecological factors that covary with latitude. 6,This abrupt shift away from sexual reproduction in populations at the northern periphery of the geographical range in D. verticillatus may greatly limit their evolutionary potential and restrict further northward expansion. [source]

The maintenance of sex: host,parasite coevolution with density-dependent virulence

Abstract Why don't asexual females replace sexual females in most natural populations of eukaryotes? One promising explanation is that parasites could counter the reproductive advantages of asexual reproduction by exerting frequency-dependent selection against common clones (the Red Queen hypothesis). One apparent limitation of the Red Queen theory, however, is that parasites would seem to be required by theory to be highly virulent. In the present study, I present a population-dynamic view of competition between sexual females and asexual females that interact with co-evolving parasites. The results show that asexual populations have higher carrying capacities, and more unstable population dynamics, than sexual populations. The results also suggest that the spread of a clone into a sexual population could increase the effective parasite virulence as population density increases. This combination of parasite-mediated frequency-dependent selection, and density-dependent virulence, could lead to the coexistence of sexual and asexual reproductive strategies and the long-term persistence of sex. [source]

Genetic variation in organisms with sexual and asexual reproduction

B. O. Bengtsson
Abstract The genetic variation in a partially asexual organism is investigated by two models suited for different time scales. Only selectively neutral variation is considered. Model 1 shows, by the use of a coalescence argument, that three sexually derived individuals per generation are sufficient to give a population the same pattern of allelic variation as found in fully sexually reproducing organisms. With less than one sexual event every third generation, the characteristic pattern expected for asexual organisms appear, with strong allelic divergence between the gene copies in individuals. At intermediary levels of sexuality, a complex situation reigns. The pair-wise allelic divergence under partial sexuality exceeds, however, always the corresponding value under full sexuality. These results apply to large populations with stable reproductive systems. In a more general framework, Model 2 shows that a small number of sexual individuals per generation is sufficient to make an apparently asexual population highly genotypically variable. The time scale in terms of generations needed to produce this effect is given by the population size and the inverse of the rate of sexuality. [source]

Genetic structure of Polytrichum formosum in relation to the breeding system as revealed by microsatellites

M. Van Der Velde
Microsatellite variation was determined for three Danish and three Dutch populations of the haploid moss species Polytrichum formosum to gain insight into the relative importance of sexual vs. asexual reproduction for the amount and structure of genetic variation. In general, low levels of microsatellite variation were observed within this species. Even when estimated for polymorphic loci only, the levels of microsatellite variability (P=90.6, A=4.3 and HS=0.468) within populations were on average lower than those reported for most other plant species. In contrast, genotypic diversity was high within each of the examined populations, indicating that sexual reproduction is a very important determinant of the genetic structure of P. formosum within populations. In agreement with previous findings for allozyme data, no significant genetic differentiation (FST=0.028, RST=0.015) was observed neither between populations nor between regions approximately 450 km apart (Denmark vs. the Netherlands). These low levels of population differentiation observed for both types of genetic markers are probably best explained by a high level of effective spore dispersal (gene flow) between populations. Therefore, also on a large geographical scale sexual reproduction is the most important determinant of the genetic structure of P. formosum, despite the high potential to reproduce clonally. [source]

The function of mate choice in sticklebacks: optimizing Mhc genetics,

M. Milinski
Sexual reproduction is an evolutionary ,puzzle'. A sexual female ,throws away' half of her genes (during meiosis), and ,fills up' what she lost with genes from a male. Thus, sexual reproduction can only be successful if the offspring with the new mixture of genes should be more than twice as fit as if she had just made a copy of herself. A challenging hypothesis assumes that infectious diseases select for females that reshuffle the immune genes for their offspring in each generation. The required increase in quality could be achieved by females selectively ,smelling out' suitable immune-genes (i.e. Mhc alleles) in potential partners, which, in combination with the female's genes, offer optimal resistance against quickly changing infectious diseases. It was found that most three spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus in natural populations around Plön, Germany, had intermediate instead of maximal numbers of different Mhc class IIB alleles. Furthermore, fish with an intermediate number of different Mhc alleles were infected with the lowest number of both parasite species and parasites per species. This suggests that Mhc heterozygosity was optimized instead of maximized. Can this immunogenetic optimum be achieved through female choice? In a flow channel design that allowed the detection of olfactory signals only, it was found that female three-spined sticklebacks that were ready to spawn preferred males as mates that in combination with their Mhc alleles would allow the production of offspring with the optimal number of Mhc alleles. Thus, mate choice in three-spined sticklebacks could have the two-fold advantage over asexual reproduction that is required to maintain sexual reproduction. The interaction of olfactory with visual signals in three-spined stickleback mate choice is discussed. The three-spined stickleback is a suitable model organism for studying the evolution of sexual reproduction in relation to optimizing offspring immune genetics although other fishes may be as suitable. [source]

Vegetative Compatibility Among Isolates of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides from Yam (Dioscorea spp.) in Nigeria

M. M. Abang
Abstract Isolates of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides obtained from yam-based cropping systems in Nigeria, previously characterized on the basis of morphology, virulence and rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequence variation were further compared for vegetative compatibility (VC). Chlorate-resistant nitrate non-utilizing (nit) mutants were generated from the isolates and used in complementation (heterokaryon) tests. Tests of VC between complementary mutants from different isolates indicated the presence of several genotypes within a single field, suggesting limited clonal spread. In some cases, isolates obtained from the same lesion were observed to belong to different vegetative compatibility groups (VCGs). No compatibility was observed between isolates of the highly virulent slow-growing grey (SGG), the moderately virulent fast-growing salmon (FGS) and the avirulent/weakly virulent fast-growing grey (FGG) strains. Forty-one C. gloeosporioides isolates belonged to 28 VCGs, giving a genotype diversity estimate of 0.68. This diversity confirmed the high variability of the pathogen population as revealed by previous characterization studies, however, a correlation between VCGs and isolate groupings based on morphology and virulence was not found. The finding that an isolate from weed was compatible with yam isolates indicated that transfer of important traits, such as virulence, may take place between isolates from yam and non-yam hosts. The VCG diversity revealed by this study suggests that in addition to asexual reproduction, sexual reproduction may play an important role in the epidemiology of anthracnose on yam. [source]

Using Bayesian inference to understand the allocation of resources between sexual and asexual reproduction

C. Jessica E. Metcalf
Summary., We address the problem of Markov chain Monte Carlo analysis of a complex ecological system by using a Bayesian inferential approach. We describe a complete likelihood framework for the life history of the wavyleaf thistle, including missing information and density dependence. We indicate how, to make inference on life history transitions involving both missing information and density dependence, the stochastic models underlying each component can be combined with each other and with priors to obtain expressions that can be directly sampled. This innovation and the principles described could be extended to other species featuring such missing stage information, with potential for improving inference relating to a range of ecological or evolutionary questions. [source]

A restoration genetics guide for coral reef conservation

Abstract Worldwide degradation of coral reef communities has prompted a surge in restoration efforts. They proceed largely without considering genetic factors because traditionally, coral populations have been regarded as open over large areas with little potential for local adaptation. Since, biophysical and molecular studies indicated that most populations are closed over shorter time and smaller spatial scales. Thus, it is justified to re-examine the potential for site adaptation in corals. There is ample evidence for differentiated populations, inbreeding, asexual reproduction and the occurrence of ecotypes, factors that may facilitate local adaptation. Discovery of widespread local adaptation would influence coral restoration projects mainly with regard to the physical and evolutionary distance from the source wild and/or captive bred propagules may be moved without causing a loss of fitness in the restored population. Proposed causes for loss of fitness as a result of (plant) restoration efforts include founder effects, genetic swamping, inbreeding and/or outbreeding depression. Direct evidence for any of these processes is scarce in reef corals due to a lack of model species that allow for testing over multiple generations and the separation of the relative contributions of algal symbionts and their coral hosts to the overall performance of the coral colony. This gap in our knowledge may be closed by employing novel population genetic and genomics approaches. The use of molecular tools may aid managers in the selection of appropriate propagule sources, guide spatial arrangement of transplants, and help in assessing the success of coral restoration projects by tracking the performance of transplants, thereby generating important data for future coral reef conservation and restoration projects. [source]

Genetic structure of the deep-sea coral Lophelia pertusa in the northeast Atlantic revealed by microsatellites and internal transcribed spacer sequences

M. C. Le Goff-Vitry
Abstract The azooxanthellate scleractinian coral Lophelia pertusa has a near-cosmopolitan distribution, with a main depth distribution between 200 and 1000 m. In the northeast Atlantic it is the main framework-building species, forming deep-sea reefs in the bathyal zone on the continental margin, offshore banks and in Scandinavian fjords. Recent studies have shown that deep-sea reefs are associated with a highly diverse fauna. Such deep-sea communities are subject to increasing impact from deep-water fisheries, against a background of poor knowledge concerning these ecosystems, including the biology and population structure of L. pertusa. To resolve the population structure and to assess the dispersal potential of this deep-sea coral, specific microsatellites markers and ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences ITS1 and ITS2 were used to investigate 10 different sampling sites, distributed along the European margin and in Scandinavian fjords. Both microsatellite and gene sequence data showed that L. pertusa should not be considered as one panmictic population in the northeast Atlantic but instead forms distinct, offshore and fjord populations. Results also suggest that, if some gene flow is occurring along the continental slope, the recruitment of sexually produced larvae is likely to be strongly local. The microsatellites showed significant levels of inbreeding and revealed that the level of genetic diversity and the contribution of asexual reproduction to the maintenance of the subpopulations were highly variable from site to site. These results are of major importance in the generation of a sustainable management strategy for these diversity-rich deep-sea ecosystems. [source]

Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers reveal that population structure of triploid dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) exhibits both clonality and recombination

R. G. M. Van Der Hulst
Abstract Highly variable amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprints of triploid apomictic dandelions obtained from three localities in an area where diploids are lacking were analysed to infer the predominant modes of reproduction. The distribution of markers was analysed using character compatibility to infer whether many genotypes agree with a tree-like structure in the data set. The presence of incompatible character state combinations (matrix incompatibility; MI) was used as a measure of genetic exchange. The detection of overrepresented genotypes, of which some were widespread, confirmed asexual reproduction. Not all genotypes were overrepresented; approximately half of the genotypes in the three localities were found only once. Because, in terms of genotype frequencies, only a part of the genetic variation is described, more important aspects of the molecular data such as relationships between markers or genotypes have been studied. The analysis of character compatibility indicated a disagreement of the data with a clonal structure. Nearly all genotypes contributed to MI and this contribution varied considerably among genotypes in each sampled locality. A gradual decrease of matrix incompatibility upon successive deletion of genotypes showing the highest contribution to MI indicated that marker distribution of virtually all genotypes disagreed with a tree-like structure in the data. This result suggested that many genotypes were separated by one or more sexual generations. Consistent with this conclusion was the fact that markers that show a low probability of contributing to MI are different in every sampled locality, which is most easily explained as the result of recombination. Apparently, asexual reproduction has resulted in overrepresented, widespread genotypes but sexual recombination has also substantially contributed to genetic variation in the sites studied. [source]

Population genetic structure of Plasmopara viticola in the Western Cape Province of South Africa

SUMMARY Plasmopara viticola populations in South Africa were studied for two consecutive grape growing seasons, in an organically managed and a conventional fungicide-sprayed vineyard. Three to four samplings in each season were genotyped with four microsatellite markers (GOB, CES, ISA and BER). Population differentiation (Fst) between the conventional fungicide-sprayed vineyard and organically managed vineyard was low (0.004 and 0.016) in both growing seasons, suggesting one metapopulation. However, differences in the relative contribution of the predominant and new genotypes to epidemics in the two vineyards suggested that fungicide applications may have selected for reduced pathogen diversity. In both years and vineyards, sexual (oosporic) reproduction and/or migration occurred throughout the year and contributed between 12 and 74% to the epidemic. Hardy,Weinberg analyses suggest that South African P. viticola populations are randomly mating. Epidemics in both years and vineyards were dominated by one or two genotypes that each contributed between 14 and 67% to the epidemic through asexual reproduction. The remaining genotypes showed low levels of asexual reproduction, with most genotypes never being able to reproduce asexually. However, for some genotypes asexual reproduction was important, as it enabled survival of the genotypes from one season to the next. In total, ten genotypes were able to survive asexually or vegetatively from one season to the next. The populations were further characterized by the presence of a high frequency of isolates that most likely have elevated ploidy levels. [source]

Protein kinase A subunits of the ascomycete pathogen Mycosphaerella graminicola regulate asexual fructification, filamentation, melanization and osmosensing

SUMMARY As in many fungi, asexual reproduction of Mycosphaerella graminicola in planta is a complex process that requires proper differentiation of the infectious hyphae in the substomatal cavities of foliar tissue before pycnidia with conidia can be formed. In this study, we have investigated the role of the cAMP signalling pathway in development and pathogenicity of this pathogen by disruption of the genes encoding the catalytic (designated MgTpk2) and regulatory subunit (designated MgBcy1) of protein kinase A. The MgTpk2 and MgBcy1 mutants showed altered phenotypes in vitro when grown under different growth conditions. On potato dextrose agar (PDA), MgBcy1 mutants showed altered osmosensitivity and reduced melanization, whereas the MgTpk2 mutants showed accelerated melanization when compared with the M. graminicola IPO323 wild-type strain and ectopic transformants. MgTpk2 mutants also secreted a dark-brown pigment into yeast glucose broth medium. In germination and microconidiation assays, both mutants showed a germination pattern similar to that of the controls on water agar, whereas on PDA filamentous growth of MgTpk2 mutants was impaired. Pathogenicity assays showed that the MgTpk2 and MgBcy1 mutants were less virulent as they caused only limited chlorotic and necrotic symptoms at the tips of the inoculated leaves. Further analyses of the infection process showed that MgTpk2 and MgBcy1 mutants were able to germinate, penetrate and colonize mesophyll tissue, but were unable to produce the asexual fructifications, which was particularly due to inappropriate differentiation during the late stage of this morphogenesis-related process. [source]

Populations do not become less genetically diverse or more differentiated towards the northern limit of the geographical range in clonal Vaccinium stamineum (Ericaceae)

Sarah B. Yakimowski
Summary ,,Geographically peripheral populations are expected to exhibit lower genetic diversity and higher differentiation than central populations because of their smaller size and greater spatial isolation. In plants, a shift from sexual to clonal asexual reproduction may further reduce diversity and increase differentiation. ,,Here, these predictions were tested by assaying 36 inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) polymorphisms in 21 populations of the woody, clonal plant Vaccinium stamineum in eastern North America, from the range center to its northern limit where it has ,threatened' status. Populations decline in frequency, but not size or sexual reproductive output, across the range. ,,Within-population diversity did not decline towards range margins. Modest genetic differentiation among populations increased slightly towards range margins and in small populations with high clonal propagation and low seed production, although none of these trends was significant. Low seed production and high clonal propagation were not associated with large-scale clonal spread. ,,By combining demographic and genetic data, this study determined that increased population isolation, rather than reduced population size, can account for the weak increase in genetic differentiation at range margins. [source]

Can punishment maintain sex?

OIKOS, Issue 2 2008
Daniel J. Rankin
Individuals who reproduce asexually have a two-fold advantage over their sexually-reproducing counterparts as they are able to reproduce twice as fast. Explaining why sexual reproduction is favoured over asexual reproduction therefore remains an important challenge in evolutionary biology. Various mechanisms involving resistance to parasites, adaptation to novel environments and helping to purge the genome of deleterious mutations have all been proposed as potential mechanisms which could promote the evolution of sex. A recent article has suggested that spiteful males may help to reduce the two-fold advantage of asexual females. Here I discuss this idea, and further ask whether punishment of asexual females by sexual females could be one way in which sexual reproduction could be maintained in groups of animals; in light of recent research on the repression of competition, it could be possible that asexual females which reproduce faster than their sexual counterparts will be punished for using group resources. It may therefore be possible that the behaviour of sexual individuals towards asexual females could have fitness consequences which could potentially reduce the two-fold advantage they gain from reproducing parthenogenetically. [source]

New species of freshwater Ulva, Ulva limnetica (Ulvales, Ulvophyceae) from the Ryukyu Islands, Japan

Kensuke Ichihara
SUMMARY Ulva limnetica Ichihara et Shimada, sp. nov. (Ulvales, Ulvophyceae) is described from the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, and is characterized by thalli that are: (i) branched, tubular, fragile and wrinkled; (ii) up to 80 cm in height and up to 2 cm in diameter; (iii) light to yellowish green in color; and (iv) having an asexual reproduction by means of quadriflagellate swarmers. Rhizoidal cells bear tubular extensions on the outside of the cell layer in the stipe. Ulva limnetica is distinguished from species with similar thalli by chloroplast disposition, branching pattern, number of pyrenoids per cell and gross morphology. It is also distinguished by sequences of the nuclear-encoded 18S ribosomal RNA gene, internal transcribed spacer 2 region and the plastid-encoded large subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxgenase gene (rbcL). Ulva limnetica was clustered with other Ulva species in an early diverging lineage within the genus. [source]

Host and non-host pathogens elicit different jasmonate/ethylene responses in Arabidopsis

Laurent Zimmerli
Summary Arabidopsis does not support the growth and asexual reproduction of the barley pathogen, Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei Bgh). A majority of germlings fail to penetrate the epidermal cell wall and papillae. To gain additional insight into this interaction, we determined whether the salicylic acid (SA) or jasmonate (JA)/ethylene (ET) defence pathways played a role in blocking barley powdery mildew infections. Only the eds1 mutant and NahG transgenics supported a modest increase in penetration success by the barley powdery mildew. We also compared the global gene expression patterns of Arabidopsis inoculated with the non-host barley powdery mildew to those inoculated with a virulent, host powdery mildew, Erysiphe cichoracearum. Genes repressed by inoculations with non-host and host powdery mildews relative to non-inoculated control plants accounted for two-thirds of the differentially expressed genes. A majority of these genes encoded components of photosynthesis and general metabolism. Consistent with this observation, Arabidopsis growth was inhibited following inoculation with Bgh, suggesting a shift in resource allocation from growth to defence. A number of defence-associated genes were induced during both interactions. These genes likely are components of basal defence responses, which do not effectively block host powdery mildew infections. In addition, genes encoding defensins, anti-microbial peptides whose expression is under the control of the JA/ET signalling pathway, were induced exclusively by non-host pathogens. Ectopic activation of JA/ET signalling protected Arabidopsis against two biotrophic host pathogens. Taken together, these data suggest that biotrophic host pathogens must either suppress or fail to elicit the JA/ET signal transduction pathway. [source]

Constraints on the evolution of asexual reproduction

BIOESSAYS, Issue 11-12 2008
Jan Engelstädter
Sexual reproduction is almost ubiquitous among multicellular organisms even though it entails severe fitness costs. To resolve this apparent paradox, an extensive body of research has been devoted to identifying the selective advantages of recombination that counteract these costs. Yet, how easy is it to make the transition to asexual reproduction once sexual reproduction has been established for a long time? The present review approaches this question by considering factors that impede the evolution of parthenogenesis in animals. Most importantly, eggs need a diploid chromosome set in most species in order to develop normally. Next, eggs may need to be activated by sperm, and sperm may also contribute centrioles and other paternal factors to the zygote. Depending on how diploidy is achieved mechanistically, further problems may arise in offspring that stem from ,inbreeding depression' or inappropriate sex determination systems. Finally, genomic imprinting is another well-known barrier to the evolution of asexuality in mammals. Studies on species with occasional, deficient parthenogenesis indicate that the relative importance of these constraints may vary widely. The intimate evolutionary relations between haplodiploidy and parthenogenesis as well as implications for the clade selection hypothesis of the maintenance of sexual reproduction are also discussed. BioEssays 30:1138,1150, 2008. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. [source]