Coexistence of sexual individuals and genetically isolated asexual counterparts in a thrips.

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Sex is a paradoxical phenomenon because it is less efficient compared with asexual reproduction. To resolve this paradox we need a direct comparison between sexual and asexual forms. In many organisms, however, sexual and asexual forms do not occur in the same habitat, or at the same time. In a few cases where sexual and asexual forms are found in a single population, some (though rare) genetic exchange is usually detected between the two forms. When genetic exchange occurs a direct comparison is impossible. Here we investigate a thrips exhibiting both sexual and asexual forms (lineages) that are morphologically indistinguishable. We examine if the two forms are genetically isolated. Phylogeny based on nuclear genes confirms that the sexual and asexual lineages are genetically differentiated. Thus we demonstrate that the current system has certain advantages over existing and previously used model systems in the evolution of sexual reproduction.


  • Scientific reports

    Scientific reports (3), 2013-11-21

    Nature Publishing Group


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