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Existence of two sexual races in the planarian species switching between asexual and sexual reproduction

Existence of two sexual races in the planarian species switching between asexual and sexual reproduction

Zoological Science 29(4): 265-272

ISSN/ISBN: 0289-0003

PMID: 22468837

DOI: 10.2108/zsj.29.265

In certain planarian species that are able to switch between asexual and sexual reproduction, determining whether a sexual has the ability to switch to the asexual state is problematic, which renders the definition of sexuals controversial. We experimentally show the existence of two sexual races, acquired and innate, in the planarian Dugesia ryukyuensis. Acquired sexuals used in this study were experimentally switched from asexuals. Inbreeding of acquired sexuals produced both innate sexuals and asexuals, but inbreeding of innate sexuals produced innate sexuals only and no asexuals. Acquired sexuals, but not innate sexuals, were forced to become asexuals by ablation and regeneration (asexual induction). This suggests that acquired sexuals somehow retain asexual potential, while innate sexuals do not. We also found that acquired sexuals have the potential to develop hyperplastic and supernumerary ovaries, while innate sexuals do not. In this regard, acquired sexuals were more prolific than innate sexuals. The differences between acquired and innate sexuals will provide a structure for examining the mechanism underlying asexual and sexual reproduction in planarians.

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Accession: 037420412

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