Long-term asexual reproduction first discovered in a prehistoric species
A new study has been conducted regarding the possibility of asexual reproduction which can last a long time. The research was conducted by international experts in zoology and evolutionary biology and focused on an ancient beetle mite known as the Oppiella nova as their subject. The species are known to have survived long periods of time without performing natural sexual reproduction. The ability of the animal to maintain its asexual reproduction is known to be rare and even impossible in the large list of various species.
Oppiella Nova and the Meselson effect
(Photo: M. Maraun and K. Wehne)
The University of Cologne and experts from the University of GÃ¶ttingen, the University of Montpellier in France and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland led a collaborative effort to analyze the puzzle pieces of the prehistoric species response. beetle mites known as the Meselson effect. According to Futurism, the Oppiella nova species usually affected by the Meselson effect expresses a genomic structure which results in pure asexual reproduction.
Sexual reproduction is one of the biological and evolutionary factors considered essential for the diversity and continuity of a line of species through its offspring. Sexual reproduction is a complex process that involves the combination of two separate genomes. Most of the species they sexually reproduce, including other beetles and humans, have two sets of chromosomes in each cell. Through this process, copies of genomes are ensured to be mixed with another parent genome to produce a diverse result. While these sexual developments must be satisfied by two copies of the genome of distinct individuals, there are species which express the same two copies in themselves.
Sexual reproduction could also be processed by species known to reproduce asexually. These unique species can create genetic clones from the original for beneficial factors. The cloning of their genomes allows asexual species to adapt to several circumstances throughout their evolution. However, this genetic process causes genetic defects in sex species, causing the manifestation of mutations in their genes. In some cases, the cloning genes of the same individual modify their genetic information which could be unique to each individual.
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Evolving asexual reproduction
The Meselson effect identifies the result of this genetic development in asexual species. Tanja Schwander, an expert from the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Lausanne, said that although the concept of the Meselson effect appears to be a simple genetic study, there has been no conclusive evidence to support its presence in animals.
The ability of Oppiella nova for asexual reproduction could be disadvantageous for its natural life. This raises many questions in the field of evolutionary biology. But the existence of the species is also the answer that experts were looking for since the Oppiella nova existed millennia ago in a community exclusively reserved for women. For this reason, their colonies are often described as ancient asexual scandals. They have been the greatest evidence to date in terms of asexual reproduction. University of Lausanne expert and lead author of the study, Alexander Brandt, said there is a possibility of more unusual sexual exchanges that could be cryptic or yet to be discovered. The study was published in the journal PNAS, titled “Haplotype divergence supports long-term asexuality in the oribatid mite Oppiella nova.”
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