Data from: Post-zygotic selection against parental genotypes during larval development maintains all-hybrid populations of the frog Pelophylax esculentus
Reyer, Heinz-Ulrich; Arioli-Jakob, Christian; Arioli, Martina (2015), Data from: Post-zygotic selection against parental genotypes during larval development maintains all-hybrid populations of the frog Pelophylax esculentus, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6rg87
Background: Hybridization between two species usually leads to inviable or infertile offspring, due to endogenous or exogenous selection pressures. Yet, hybrid taxa are found in several plant and animal genera, and some of these hybrid taxa are ecologically and evolutionarily very successful. One example of such a successful hybrid is the water frog, Pelophylax esculentus which originated from matings between the two species P. ridibundus (genotype RR) and P. lessonae (LL). At the northern border of the distribution all-hybrid populations consisting of diploid (LR) and one or two triploid (LLR, LRR) frog types have been established. Here, the hybrid has achieved reproductive independence from its sexual ancestors and forms a self-sustaining evolutionary unit. Based on the gamete production of these hybrids, certain mating combinations should lead to LL and RR offspring, but these parental forms are absent among the adults. Results: In order to investigate the mechanisms that maintain such an all-hybrid system, we performed a field study and a crossing experiment. In the field we sampled several ponds for water frog larvae at different developmental stages. Genotype compositions were then analysed and life-history differences between the genotypes examined. In the experiment we crossed diploid and triploid males and females from different ponds and determined fertilization success as well as development speed and survival rates of the offspring under high, medium and low food availability. In both parts of the study, we found numerous LL and RR offspring during the egg and early larval stages; but the frequency of these parental genotypes decreased drastically during later stages. In natural ponds almost all of them had disappeared already before metamorphosis; under the more benign experimental conditions the last ones died as juveniles during the following year. Conclusions: From the combined results we conclude that the absence of parental genotypes in all-hybrid populations is due to post-zygotic selection against them, rather than to pre-zygotic mechanisms that might prevent their formation in the first place. For this post-zygotic selection, genetic mechanisms resulting from low genetic diversity and fixation of deleterious mutations seem to be a more likely explanation than ecological factors.