Genomics of sexual and asexual reproduction in "Daphnia magna"

Dukić, Marinela. Genomics of sexual and asexual reproduction in "Daphnia magna". 2016, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Science.

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Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_12642

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During my Ph.D., I used the next generation sequencing technology to investigate patterns of recombination and the genetic consequences of different reproductive modes of Daphnia magna. More precisely, I have used Restriction site Associated (RAD) sequencing to construct a high-density genetic map that can be coupled with the draft genome assembly of D. magna, thus, providing an essential tool for genome investigations in this widely used model organism (Chapter I). Such a map has enabled characterization of variation in the meiotic recombination rates across the genome of D. magna for the first time. Since recombination rates are an important parameter in almost any type of genetic research, this newly gained insight into the recombination landscape of D. magna offers a fundamental information for future studies of genome evolution, identification of genes underlying phenotypic traits and population genetic analyses.
In addition to sexual reproduction, D. magna can also reproduce asexually to generate clutches of clonal offspring (ameiotic parthenogenesis). This feature of Daphnia biology is extremely useful for scientific experimentation where the genetic variation among tested individuals has to be minimized. However, over the last decade, reports of genome homogenization (loss of heterozygosity - LOH) in asexual lineages of D. pulex have indicated that asexual genomes are not static as it was previously assumed and that some levels of ameiotic recombination, in addition to mutation, may induce genetic variation among putative clones. However, comparing parthenogenetic offspring with their mothers at several thousand genetic markers generated by RAD-sequencing, I was not able to detect any LOH events in D. magna (Chapter II). I cannot exclude the possibility that ameiotic recombination indeed occurs in D. magna, however, my results indicate that such phenomenon is extremely rare or restricted to the very short genomic regions that I was unable to investigate, despite a high-density of markers used in this study.
Nevertheless, the implementation of RAD-sequencing protocol for the genome studies of D. magna still enables interrogation of the transmission of genetic information from parents to offspring at unprecedented resolution. For an example, a RAD-sequencing based analysis of reduction in parental heterozygosity among rare ephippial hatchlings (typically produced by sexual reproduction) found in non-male producing populations of D. magna, has enabled differentiation between self-fertilization and automixis (meiotic parthenogenesis), by uncovering the subtle differences in genetic consequences of these reproductive strategies (Chapter III). Harnessing the ability of high-resolution genetic analysis it was demonstrated that, in the absence of males, D. magna can produce diapause eggs by automixis, and an additional type of asexual reproduction that was not previously reported for this species.
Finally, RAD-sequencing European populations of D. magna revealed an association of genetic variation with the geographic location of individual samples (Chapter IV), a task which was not previously amenable using mitochondrial or microsatellite markers. This study provided a better insight into population genetic structure of D. magna and suggested that genetic differentiation is mainly driven by geographic distance. These results set a foundation for forthcoming studies aiming to disentangle past and future evolutionary processes shaping populations of this intriguing model organism.
Taken together, research presented in my thesis illustrates the practicality of reduced representation genome sequencing for tackling diverse topics in evolutionary biology. By increasing awareness of non-randomness of meiotic recombination across the genome of D. magna, the diversity of reproductive mechanisms it can employ, and its large-scale population structure, I hope this work will contribute to further understanding of the remarkable adaptive capacity this crustacean is famous for.
Advisors:Ebert, Dieter and Haag, Christoph R.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Integrative Biologie > Evolutionary Biology (Ebert)
UniBasel Contributors:Dukic, Marinela and Ebert, Dieter
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:12642
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:1 Online-Ressource (149 Seiten)
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Last Modified:08 Feb 2020 14:54
Deposited On:27 Jun 2018 12:29

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