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Evolutionary dynamics of 'the' bdelloid and monogonont rotifer life-history patterns

Evolutionary dynamics of 'the' bdelloid and monogonont rotifer life-history patterns

Hydrobiologia 546: 55-70

Substantial differences in both life-table characteristics and reproductive patterns distinguish bdelloid from monogonont rotifers. Bdelloids reproduce only asexually, whereas most monogononts are cyclical parthenogens. We explore some of the adaptive consequences of these life-history differences using a computer model to simulate the evolutionary acquisition of new beneficial mutations. A one-locus mutation-selection regime based on the life-history characteristics of bdelloids indicates that asexuals can maintain higher levels of both allelic and genotypic diversity over a longer time period than obligate sexuals. These results are produced by differences in the magnitude of random genetic drift (RGD) associated with the different types of reproduction. Cyclical parthenogens have significantly higher evolutionary rates than sexual forms in a single-locus model, but incorporate beneficial mutations more slowly than sexuals in a two-locus simulation. Our results are therefore strongly influenced by the number of loci being evaluated as well as the pattern of reproduction. The asexual life history was found to maintain higher levels of allelic diversity than any pattern including sexual reproduction. This intriguing finding is amplified as the number of loci undergoing selection is increased. We end by considering the adaptive consequences of the remarkably divergent life histories found in typical bdelloid and monogonont rotifers.

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Accession: 012065384

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DOI: 10.1007/s10750-005-4102-9

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