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Molecular Markers Indicate Rare Sex in a Predominantly Asexual Parasitoid Wasp
Robert Belshaw, Donald L. J. Quicke, Wolfgang Volkl and H. Charles J. Godfray
Vol. 53, No. 4 (Aug., 1999), pp. 1189-1199
Published by: Society for the Study of Evolution
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2640822
Page Count: 11
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The parasitoid wasp genus Lysiphlebus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae: Aphidiinae) contains a taxonomically poorly resolved group of both sexual (arrhenotokous) species and asexual (thelytokous) clones. Maximum-parsimony and maximum-likelihood analyses of mitochondrial DNA sequence data from specimens collected across Western Europe showed that asexuality, which does not appear to be caused by the bacterium Wolbachia, is concentrated in two geographically widespread lineages, the older of which diverged from the closest extant sexual taxa approximately 0.5 million years ago. However, the DNA sequences of a nuclear intron (elongation factor-1α) showed no congruence with this pattern, and a much higher frequency of heterozygotes with very high allelic diversity was observed among the asexual females compared to that among females from the sexual species. This pattern is consistent with maternally inherited asexuality coupled with a history of rare sex with members of several closely related sexual populations or species. Our observations reinforce recent arguments that rare sex may be more important for the persistence of otherwise asexual lineages than hitherto appreciated.
Evolution © 1999 Society for the Study of Evolution