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Zoolog Sci. 2007 May;24(5):486-92.

Inheritance pattern of lateral dimorphism in two cichlids (a scale eater, Perissodus microlepis, and an herbivore, Neolamprologus moorii) in Lake Tanganyika.

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  • 1Laboratory of Animal Ecology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


Antisymmetry in the direction of the mouth opening, to either the right ("lefty") or left ("righty"), was documented in the scale-eating cichlid Perissodus microlepis. This study revealed the presence of lefty and righty mouth morphs in the herbivorous cichlid Neolamprologus moorii, although the degree of deviation was not large. Both species are biparental brooders and guard their young. We examined the inheritance pattern of the dimorphism (laterality) using parents and broods of P. microlepis and N. moorii collected in the wild. In P. microlepis, lefty-lefty pairs had a 2:1 frequency of lefty:righty young, lefty-righty pairs a similar number of each type of young, and righty-righty pairs only righty young. Similar inheritance patterns were observed in N. moorii. We propose two hypotheses to explain the inheritance pattern: Mendelian genetics with the lefty allele dominant over the righty and the dominant allele homozygous lethal, and cross-incompatibility that is predominant in lefty homozygotes.

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