Meiotic parthenogenesis in a root-knot nematode results in rapid genomic homozygosity

Genetics. 2007 Jul;176(3):1483-90. doi: 10.1534/genetics.107.071134. Epub 2007 May 4.


Many isolates of the plant-parasitic nematode Meloidogyne hapla reproduce by facultative meiotic parthenogenesis. Sexual crosses can occur, but, in the absence of males, the diploid state appears to be restored by reuniting sister chromosomes of a single meiosis. We have crossed inbred strains of M. hapla that differ in DNA markers and produced hybrids and F(2) lines. Here we show that heterozygous M. hapla females, upon parthenogenetic reproduction, produce progeny that segregate 1:1 for the presence or absence of dominant DNA markers, as would be expected if sister chromosomes are rejoined, rather than the 3:1 ratio typical of a Mendelian cross. Codominant markers also segregate 1:1 and heterozygotes are present at low frequency (<3%). Segregation patterns and recombinant analysis indicate that a homozygous condition is prevalent for markers flanking recombination events, suggesting that recombination occurs preferentially as four-strand exchanges at similar locations between both pairs of non-sister chromatids. With this mechanism, meiotic parthenogenesis would be expected to result in rapid genomic homozygosity. This type of high negative crossover interference coupled with positive chromatid interference has not been observed in fungal or other animal systems in which it is possible to examine the sister products of a single meiosis and may indicate that meiotic recombination in this nematode has novel features.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatids
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Genome, Helminth*
  • Homozygote*
  • Meiosis*
  • Nematoda*
  • Parthenogenesis*
  • Recombination, Genetic