Evolutionary Biology

Spontaneous parthenogenesis in the parasitoid wasp Cotesia typhae: low frequency anomaly or evolving process?

10.24072/pcjournal.135 - Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article no. e37.

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Hymenopterans are haplodiploids and unlike most other Arthropods they do not possess sexual chromosomes. Sex determination typically happens via the ploidy of individuals: haploids become males and diploids become females. Arrhenotoky is believed to be the ancestral reproduction mode in Hymenopterans, with haploid males produced parthenogenetically, and diploid females produced sexually. However, a number of transitions towards thelytoky (diploid females produced parthenogenetically) have appeared in Hymenopterans, and in most cases populations or species are either totally arrhenotokous or totally thelytokous. Here we present the case of Cotesia typhae (Fernandez-Triana), a Braconidae that produces parthenogenetic females at a low frequency. The phenotyping of two laboratory strains and one natural population showed that this frequency is variable, and that this rare thelytokous phenomenon also happens in the wild. Moreover, mated females from one of the laboratory strains produce a few parthenogenetic daughters among a majority of sexual daughters. The analysis of daughters of heterozygous virgin females allowed us to show that a mechanism similar to automixis with central fusion is very likely at play in C. typhae. This mechanism allows some parts of the genome to remain heterozygous, especially at the chromosomes’ centromeres, which can be advantageous depending on the sex determination system involved. Lastly, in most species, the origin of thelytoky is either bacterial or genetic, and an antibiotic treatment as well as PCR experiments did not demonstrate a bacterial cause in C. typhae. The unusual case of low parthenogenetic frequency described in this species constitutes another example of the fascinating diversity of sex determination systems in Arthropods.

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DOI: 10.24072/pcjournal.135
Capdevielle Dulac, Claire 1; Benoist, Romain 1; Paquet, Sarah 1; Calatayud, Paul-André 1; Obonyo, Julius 2; Kaiser, Laure 1; Mougel, Florence 1

1 Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS, IRD, UMR Évolution, Génomes, Comportement et Écologie – 91198, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
2 icipe, International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology, P.O. Box 30772-00100 – Nairobi, Kenya
License: CC-BY 4.0
Copyrights: The authors retain unrestricted copyrights and publishing rights
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Capdevielle Dulac, Claire; Benoist, Romain; Paquet, Sarah; Calatayud, Paul-André; Obonyo, Julius; Kaiser, Laure; Mougel, Florence. Spontaneous parthenogenesis in the parasitoid wasp Cotesia typhae: low frequency anomaly or evolving process?. Peer Community Journal, Volume 2 (2022), article  no. e37. doi : 10.24072/pcjournal.135. https://peercommunityjournal.org/articles/10.24072/pcjournal.135/

Peer reviewed and recommended by PCI : 10.24072/pci.evolbiol.100141

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