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Genetics of arrhenotokous and thelytokous reproduction in Venturia canescens (Hymenoptera)

04 December 2009

PhD ceremony: mw. I.V. Mateo Leach, 16.15 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Thesis: Genetics of arrhenotokous and thelytokous reproduction in Venturia canescens (Hymenoptera)

Promotor(s): prof.dr. L.W. Beukeboom

Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Contact: Irene Mateo Leach, tel. 050-361 5054, e-mail:

Egg development without fertilization occurs in all Hymenoptera. Most species reproduce by arrhenotoky (haploid males, diploid females), in which males develop parthenogenetically from unfertilized haploid eggs. Females develop from unfertilized eggs under thelytokous reproduction which require cytological mechanisms that maintain or restore diploidy. Virtually nothing is known about the genetic regulation of these processes. Such information is required for a better understanding of the evolutionary dynamics of parthenogenesis and the twofold cost of sex paradox.

Thelytokous reproduction in Hymenoptera can have a number of important implications for the genetic make-up of individuals and the amount and structure of genetic variation in populations. Although several different cytological mechanisms are involved, all automictic forms are believed to increase the level of homozygosity within individuals and populations. However, we are only at the beginning of understanding the interplay between the genetic consequences of the cytological mechanism of thelytoky and the population level processes that shape genetic variation in thelytokous populations. This requires more detailed population genetic studies with a larger array of thelytokous species.

Studies on Venturia canescens have uncovered a number of basic differences in life-history traits between arrhenotokous and thelytokous individuals, which may facilitate their co-occurrence. However, little attention has been paid to the genetic basis of thelytoky and the genetic structure of arrhenotokous and thelytokous populations. In this thesis we try to give an answer to these questions and provide with some tools to encourage further genetic studies on Venturia canescens.

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.39 p.m.
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