Morgado-Santos, M., Carona, S., Vicente, L., Collares-Pereira, M.J. (2017) First empirical evidence of naturally occurring androgenesis in vertebrates. Royal Society Open Science, 4(5), 170200. DOI:10.1098/rsos.170200
Androgenesis among vertebrates is considered a rare phenomenon, with some cases reported so far, but linked to experiments involving gamete manipulation (artificial androgenesis). Herein, we report the first empirical evidence of the natural occurrence of spontaneous androgenesis in a vertebrate, the Squalius alburnoides allopolyploid complex. A genetically screened random sample of a natural population was allowed to reproduce in an isolated pond without any human interference, and the viable offspring obtained was later analysed for paternity. Both nuclear and mitochondrial markers showed that the only allodiploid fish found among all the allotriploid offspring was androgenetically produced by an allodiploid male. This specimen had no female nuclear genomic input, and the sequence of the mitochondrial fragment examined differed from that of the male progenitor, matching one of the parental females available in the pond, probably the mother. The possible role of androgenesis in the reproductive dynamics of this highly successful vertebrate complex is discussed.