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Exploring the relationship between tychoparthenogenesis and inbreeding depression in the Desert Locust, Schistocerca gregaria

Little C., Chapuis M.P., Blondin L., Chapuis E., Jourdan H.. 2017. Ecology and Evolution, 7 (15) : p. 6003-6011.

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3103

Tychoparthenogenesis, a form of asexual reproduction in which a small proportion of unfertilized eggs can hatch spontaneously, could be an intermediate evolutionary link in the transition from sexual to parthenogenetic reproduction. The lower fitness of tychoparthenogenetic offspring could be due to either developmental constraints or to inbreeding depression in more homozygous individuals. We tested the hypothesis that in populations where inbreeding depression has been purged, tychoparthenogenesis may be less costly. To assess this hypothesis, we compared the impact of inbreeding and parthenogenetic treatments on eight life-history traits (five measuring inbreeding depression and three measuring inbreeding avoidance) in four laboratory populations of the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria, with contrasted demographic histories. Overall, we found no clear relationship between the population history (illustrated by the levels of genetic diversity or inbreeding) and inbreeding depression, or between inbreeding depression and parthenogenetic capacity. First, there was a general lack of inbreeding depression in every population, except in two populations for two traits. This pattern could not be explained by the purging of inbreeding load in the studied populations. Second, we observed large differences between populations in their capacity to reproduce through tychoparthenogenesis. Only the oldest laboratory population successfully produced parthenogenetic offspring. However, the level of inbreeding depression did not explain the differences in parthenogenetic success between all studied populations. Differences in development constraints may arise driven by random and selective processes between populations.

Mots-clés : schistocerca gregaria; parthénogénèse; reproduction asexuée; reproduction sexuée; Évolution; génétique des populations; dépression de consanguinité; variation génétique; afrique du nord; france; belgique; mauritanie; angleterre

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