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Keywords:

  • automixis;
  • Carcharhinidae;
  • diversity;
  • evolution;
  • genetic management

Genetic evidence is provided for parthenogenesis in a large-bodied shark, the blacktip Carcharhinus limbatus, from the speciose and commercially important family Carcharhinidae, the first verified case of asexual development in this lineage and only the second for any chondrichthyan. The parthenogenetic embryo exhibited elevated homozygosity relative to its mother, indicating that automictic parthenogenesis is the most likely mechanism. Although this finding shows that parthenogenesis is more common and widespread in sharks than previously realized and supports the early existence of parthenogenetic abilities in vertebrates, the adaptive significance of automixis in these ancient fishes remains unclear.