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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Long-term retention of self-fertilization in a fish clade.

  • Author(s): Tatarenkov, Andrey
  • Lima, Sergio MQ
  • Taylor, D Scott
  • Avise, John C
  • et al.

Among vertebrate animals, only the mangrove rivulus (Kryptolebias marmoratus) was known to self-fertilize. Here, we use microsatellite analyses to document a high selfing rate (97%) in a related nominal species, Kryptolebias ocellatus, which likewise is androdioecious (populations consist of males and hermaphrodites). In contrast, we find no evidence of self-fertilization in Kryptolebias caudomarginatus (an androdioecious species closely related to the marmoratus-ocellatus clade) or in Kryptolebias brasiliensis (a dioecious outgroup). These findings indicate that the initiation of self-fertilization predated the origin of the marmoratus-ocellatus clade. From mitochondrial DNA sequences and microsatellite data, we document a substantial genetic distance between Kryptolebias marmoratus and K. ocellatus, implying that the selfing capacity has persisted in these fishes for at least several hundred thousand years.

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