Ameiotic recombination in asexual lineages of Daphnia

Angela R. Omilian, Melania E.A. Cristescu, Jeffry L. Dudycha, Michael Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Despite the enormous theoretical attention given to the evolutionary consequences of sexual reproduction, the validity of the key assumptions on which the theory depends rarely has been evaluated. It is often argued that a reduced ability to purge deleterious mutations condemns asexual lineages to an early extinction. However, most well characterized asexual lineages fail to exhibit the high levels of neutral allelic divergence expected in the absence of recombination. With purely descriptive data, it is difficult to evaluate whether this pattern is a consequence of the rapid demise of asexual lineages, an unusual degree of mutational stability, or recombination. Here, we show in mutation-accumulation lines of asexual Daphnia that the rate of loss of nucleotide heterozygosity by ameiotic recombination is substantially greater than the rate of introduction of new variation by mutation. This suggests that the evolutionary potential of asexual diploid species is not only a matter of mutation accumulation and reduced efficiency of selection, but it underscores the limited utility of using neutral allelic divergence as an indicator of ancient asexuality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18638-18643
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 5 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Allelic divergence
  • Loss of heterozygosity
  • Mutation accumulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Ameiotic recombination in asexual lineages of Daphnia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this