Destabilizing hybridization, general-purpose genotypes and geographic parthenogenesis.

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487 Scopus citations


The ecological and genetic correlates of parthenogenesis are clarified by focusing upon 2 of the major challenges that confront a newly arisen parthenogen: the genetic disruption that results from backcrosses with sexual relatives, and the evolution of a highly generalized genotype. The geographic ranges, ecological characteristics, elevated ploidy levels and hybrid origins of many parthenogens, as well as the widespread suppression of recombination in automatics, are consistent with expectations derived from the destabilizing hybridization and general-purpose genotype hypotheses. Whereas the support for these hypotheses is broad, much of the evidence is circumstantial; experimental tests would allow an evaluation of the proposed hypotheses and the more traditional alternatives based on differential colonization, competitive and coevolutionary abilities. An appreciation of the stringent requirements for a successful transition to parthenogenesis may help to explain its uneven phylogenetic distribution. The relevance of parthenogenesis to the biological control of pest species also requires attention.-from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-290
Number of pages34
JournalQuarterly Review of Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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