In Hymenoptera, complete parthenogenesis, that is thelytoky, is a common phenomenon where virgin females produce only daughters. Thelytoky is often induced by bacteria of the genus Wolbachia, but can also be genetically determined by the insect itself, as in the genus Trichogramma where both forms exist. In order to compare these two forms of thelytoky, chromosome behaviour analysis in young eggs and genetic analysis of microsatellite markers were carried out in the wasp Trichogramma cacoeciae, where thelytoky is genetically determined. Microscopic studies revealed that during female gamete formation meiotic cells undergo only a single equational division followed by the expulsion of a single polar body. This absence of meiotic recombination and reduction corresponds well with the high levels of heterozygosity observed in females collected from the field and a nonsegregation pattern in the offspring of heterozygous females. We therefore concluded that diploidy in T. cacoeciae is maintained through an apomictic cloning mechanism and that the incidence of thelytoky under genetic control of the wasp differs entirely from the mechanism induced by Wolbachia infection, where thelytoky is restored through gamete duplication.
- asexual parasitoid wasp