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A Mite Species That Consists Entirely of Haploid Females

Science  29 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5526, pp. 2479-2482
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060411

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Abstract

The dominance of the diploid state in higher organisms, with haploidy generally confined to the gametic phase, has led to the perception that diploidy is favored by selection. This view is highlighted by the fact that no known female organism within the Metazoa exists exclusively (or even for a prolonged period) in a haploid state. We used fluorescence microscopy and variation at nine microsatellite loci to show that the false spider mite,Brevipalpus phoenicis, consists of haploid female parthenogens. We show that this reproductive anomaly is caused by infection by an undescribed endosymbiotic bacterium, which results in feminization of haploid genetic males.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed at the Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research, Department of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton 3168, Australia. E-mail: Andrew.Weeks{at}sci.monash.edu.au

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