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Keywords:

  • 1-methyladenine;
  • automixis;
  • thelytoky;
  • mating systems

Abstract. In laboratory studies of fertilization using the gonochoric broadcast-spawning asterinid sea star Patiria miniata, we found many cases in which some mature eggs spawned by females formed cleavage-stage embryos and feeding bipinnaria larvae without fertilization by sperm. Segregation of maternal microsatellite alleles among the parthenogenetic offspring of known heterozygous females was consistent with several specific modes of asexual reproduction, including polar body suppression. Cryptic outcrossing by sperm contamination was ruled out by the failure to observe non-maternal alleles. The potential for asexual reproduction by the normally outcrossing members of P. miniata may suggest a shared propensity for asexuality among asterinid species from several clades in which isolated adults can produce offspring without outcrossing.