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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Jun 14;108(24):9910-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1102811108. Epub 2011 May 4.

Laboratory synthesis of an independently reproducing vertebrate species.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Stowers Institute for Medical Research, Kansas City, MO 64110, USA.

Abstract

Speciation in animals commonly involves an extrinsic barrier to genetic exchange followed by the accumulation of sufficient genetic variation to impede subsequent productive interbreeding. All-female species of whiptail lizards, which originated by interspecific hybridization between sexual progenitors, are an exception to this rule. Here, the arising species instantaneously acquires a novel genotype combining distinctive alleles from two different species, and reproduction by parthenogenesis constitutes an effective intrinsic barrier to genetic exchange. Fertilization of diploid parthenogenetic females by males of sexual species has produced several triploid species, but these instantaneous speciation events have neither been observed in nature nor have they been reconstituted in the laboratory. Here we report the generation of four self-sustaining clonal lineages of a tetraploid species resulting from fertilization of triploid oocytes from a parthenogenetic Aspidoscelis exsanguis with haploid sperm from Aspidoscelis inornata. Molecular and cytological analysis confirmed the genetic identity of the hybrids and revealed that the females retain the capability of parthenogenetic reproduction characteristic of their triploid mothers. The tetraploid females have established self-perpetuating clonal lineages which are now in the third generation. Our results confirm the hypothesis that secondary hybridization events can lead to asexual lineages of increased ploidy when favorable combinations of parental genomes are assembled. We anticipate that these animals will be a critical tool in understanding the mechanisms underlying the origin and subsequent evolution of asexual amniotes.

PMID:
21543715
PMCID:
PMC3116429
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1102811108
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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