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Journal Article

Geographical parthenogenesis in the brown alga Scytosiphon lomentaria (Scytosiphonaceae): Sexuals in warm waters and parthenogens in cold waters


Hoshino,  M
Department Algal Development and Evolution, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Hoshino, M., Hiruta, S., Croce, M., Kamiya, M., Jomori, T., Wakimoto, T., et al. (2021). Geographical parthenogenesis in the brown alga Scytosiphon lomentaria (Scytosiphonaceae): Sexuals in warm waters and parthenogens in cold waters. Molecular Ecology, 30(22), 5814-5830. doi:10.1111/mec.16152.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000A-3D85-C
Geographical parthenogenesis, a phenomenon where parthenogens and their close sexual relatives inhabit distinct geographical areas, has been considered an interesting topic in evolutionary biology. Reports of geographical parthenogenesis from land and freshwater are numerous, but this occurrence has been rarely reported from the sea. Brown algae are mostly marine and are thought to include numerous obligate parthenogens; still, little is known about the distribution, origin and evolution of parthenogens in this group. Here we report a novel pattern of geographical parthenogenesis in the isogamous brown alga Scytosiphon lomentaria. Sex ratio investigation demonstrated that, in Japan, sexual populations grew in the coast along warm ocean currents, whereas female-dominant parthenogenetic populations grew mainly in the coast along a cold ocean current. In the two localities where sexual and parthenogenetic populations were parapatric, parthenogens grew in more wave-exposed areas than sexuals. Population genetic and phylogenetic analyses, including those based on genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism data, indicated that parthenogens have initially evolved at least twice and subsequent hybridizations between the parthenogens and sexuals have generated multiple new parthenogenetic lineages. The origin of the initial parthenogens is not clear, except that it would not be interspecies hybridization. Interestingly, we found that the production of sex pheromones, which attract male gametes, has been independently lost in the initial two parthenogenetic lineages. This parallel loss of the sexual trait may represent the direct origin of parthenogens, or the regressive evolution of a useless trait under asexuality.