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PLoS One. 2017 Sep 20;12(9):e0185161. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185161. eCollection 2017.

The origin of multiple clones in the parthenogenetic lizard species Darevskia rostombekowi.

Author information

Laboratory of Genome Organization, Institute of Gene Biology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular biology and Genetics, Moscow State Pedagogical University, Moscow, Russia.
Group of Bioinformatics and Modeling Biological Process, Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia.
Department of Natural History, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The all-female Caucasian rock lizard Darevskia rostombekowi and other unisexual species of this genus reproduce normally via true parthenogenesis. Typically, diploid parthenogenetic reptiles exhibit some amount of clonal diversity. However, allozyme data from D. rostombekowi have suggested that this species consists of a single clone. Herein, we test this hypothesis by evaluating variation at three variable microsatellite loci for 42 specimens of D. rostombekowi from four populations in Armenia. Analyses based on single nucleotide polymorphisms of each locus reveal five genotypes or presumptive clones in this species. All individuals are heterozygous at the loci. The major clone occurs in 24 individuals and involves three populations. Four rare clones involve one or several individuals from one or two populations. Most variation owes to parent-specific single nucleotide polymorphisms, which occur as heterozygotes. This result fails to reject the hypothesis of a single hybridization founder event that resulted in the initial formation of one major clone. The other clones appear to have originated via post-formation microsatellite mutations of the major clone.

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