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Keywords:

  • allotriploids;
  • interspecific introgression;
  • Salmo salar;
  • Salmo trutta

Abstract

Hybridization between sympatric species is not uncommon in the wild. Wild allotriploids (individuals with two chromosome sets from a species + one chromosome set from another species) are generally the result of a backcross between interspecific hybrids that produce unreduced gametes and one of the parental species. In animals, allotriploids are commonly sterile, except for some vertebrate species complexes in which allotriploids reproduce by parthenogenesis, gynogenesis and/or hybridogenesis, producing generally clonal or hemiclonal gametes; nuclear DNA introgression between hybridizing species is considered to be extremely rare. Employing species-specific molecular markers, we show genetic introgression between the chromosomally well-differentiated salmonids Atlantic salmon (2n = 58) and brown trout (2n = 80) through spontaneous bisexual reproduction of allotriploids leading to salmon-like offspring bearing some brown trout genes. Although introgression between these Salmo species can occur via allotriploids, we hypothesize that extinction of parental species can be discarded based on very low survival of allotriploid offspring.