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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2009;124(1):44-50. doi: 10.1159/000200087. Epub 2009 Apr 15.

An examination of intergenomic exchanges in A. laterale-dependent unisexual salamanders in the genus Ambystoma.

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  • 1Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ont, Canada.


The evolutionary longevity of unisexual salamanders in the genus Ambystoma may be attributed to their flexible reproductive system and meiotic intergenomic interactions. More than 20 different unisexual genomic combinations have been found and all the unisexuals live with at least one of the sexual species A. laterale, A. jeffersonianum, A. texanum, and A. tigrinum. Most unisexuals rely on A. laterale orA. jeffersonianum as sperm donors. Intergenomic exchanges were previously reported in A. jeffersonianum-dependent unisexual populations from southern Ontario and are believed to be an important meiotic mechanism that provides genetic diversity. The situations of intergenomic exchanges in many of A. laterale-dependent unisexual populations, however, remain unknown. In this study we collected specimens from populations where unisexuals use A. laterale as sperm donors, including mainly triploid A. 2 laterale--jeffersonianum (or LLJ), and employed genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) to examine the intergenomic exchanges. Five patterns of intergenomic exchanges were detected. Intergenomic exchanges are less frequent and lack association among populations in A. laterale-dependent than in A. jeffersonianum- dependent unisexual populations, but more recombined homeologues were observed in LLJ unisexuals. Our observations show that the patterns and frequencies of intergenomic exchanges are different when unisexuals use different sexual species as sperm donors. We propose a few possible mechanisms that may account for these different observations.

Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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