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Molecular evidence for multiple origins of hybridogenetic fish clones (Poeciliidae:Poeciliopsis).


Hybrid matings between the sexual species Poeciliopsis monacha and Poeciliopsis lucida produced a series of diploid all-female lineages of P. monacha-lucida that inhabit the Río Fuerte of northwestern Mexico. Restriction site analyses of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) clearly revealed that P. monacha was the maternal ancestor of these hybrids. The high level of mtDNA diversity in P. monacha was mirrored by similarly high levels in P. monacha-lucida; thus hybridizations giving rise to unisexual lineages have occurred many times. However, mtDNA variability among P. monacha-lucida lineages revealed a geographical component. Apparently the opportunity for the establishment of unisexual lineages varies among tributaries of the Río Fuerte. We hypothesize that a dynamic complex of sexual and clonal fishes appear to participate in a feedback process that maintains genetic diversity in both the sexual and asexual components.

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