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Keywords:

  • ancient asexual;
  • clonal diversity;
  • Crustacea;
  • hybridization;
  • parthenogenesis.

Asexual reproduction has evolved repeatedly in nonmarine ostracods and takes a variety of forms from ancient asexuals to species in which sexual and asexual lineages coexist. Clonal diversity is highly variable. There is evidence that some of this diversity is maintained by ecological differentiation. Hybridization between asexual females and males, of the same or related species, contributes to clonal diversity. Molecular data suggest that some clonal lineages are surprisingly old (more than 5 Myr). In the ancient asexual Darwinula stevensoni, from a lineage that has apparently been without sex for more than 100 Myr, a remarkable lack of sequence variation in ITS1 may be explained by occasional automixis, gene conversion or somatic recombination, or by efficient DNA repair. Overall, the ostracods provide an excellent system in which to study the evolution of reproductive modes.