Hybridogenesis in an interspecific hybrid frog is a coupling mechanism in the gametogenic cell line that eliminates the genome of one parental species with endoduplication of the remaining genome of the other parental species. It has been intensively investigated in the edible frog Pelophylax kl. esculentus (RL), a natural hybrid between the marsh frog P. ridibundus (RR) and the pool frog P. lessonae (LL). However, the genetic mechanisms involved remain unclear. Here, we investigated the water frogs in the western Russian territory. In three of the four populations, we genetically identified 16 RL frogs living sympatrically with the parental LL species, or with both parental species. In addition, two populations contained genome introgression with another species, P. bedriagae (BB) (a close relative of RR). In the gonads of 13 RL frogs, the L genome was eliminated, producing gametes of R (or R combined with the B genome). In sharp contrast, one RL male eliminated the L or R genome, producing both R and L sperm. We detected a variation in genome elimination within a population. Based on the genetic backgrounds of RL frogs, we hypothesize that the introgression of the B genome resulted in the change in choosing a genome to be eliminated.
Keywords: Pelopylax kl. esculentus; Serum albumin; cytochrome b; genome introgression.