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Zoolog Sci. 2002 May;19(5):527-38.

Re-examination of sibling cross-sterility in the ascidian, Ciona intestinalis: genetic background of the self-sterility.

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  • 1Department of Bioscience, Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Nagatsuta, Yokohama, Japan.


Self-sterility of solitary ascidians is a typical example of the allogeneic recognition, though its molecular mechanism remains an open question. In this paper we analyze the fertility between siblings from selfed and crossed eggs to understand the genetic basis of self-sterility in the ascidian, Ciona intestinalis. First, we show that the self-sterility is strict and stable, and the individuality expressed in gametes is highly diversified in the wild population that we used. Secondly, we show one-way cross-sterility and reciprocal cross-sterility within the siblings that are self-sterile but fertile with non-siblings. Thirdly, we show self-sterility and cross-sterility share some natures and both are closely related to the sperm capacity not to bind to the vitelline coat of the autologous eggs or the eggs sterile to the sperm concerned. In all, this paper shows that the self-sterility is genetically governed by a multiple-locus system, and that most probably individual-specific determinants are haploid expression in sperm and diploid expression in eggs, given they recognize self but not non-self.

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