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Data from: Clonal diversity driven by parasitism in a freshwater snail

Cite this dataset

Dagan, Yael; Liljeroos, Katri; Jokela, Jukka; Ben-Ami, Frida (2013). Data from: Clonal diversity driven by parasitism in a freshwater snail [Dataset]. Dryad.


One explanation for the widespread abundance of sexual reproduction is the advantage that genetically diverse sexual lineages have under strong pressure from virulent coevolving parasites. Such parasites are believed to track common asexual host genotypes, resulting in negative frequency-dependent selection that counterbalances the population growth-rate advantage of asexuals in comparison with sexuals. In the face of genetically diverse asexual lineages, this advantage of sexual reproduction might be eroded, and instead sexual populations would be replaced by diverse assemblages of clonal lineages. We investigated whether parasite-mediated selection promotes clonal diversity in 22 natural populations of the freshwater snail Melanoides tuberculata. We found that infection prevalence explains the observed variation in the clonal diversity of M. tuberculata populations, while no such relationship was found between infection prevalence and male frequency. Clonal diversity and male frequency were independent of snail population density. Incorporating ecological factors such as presence/absence of fish, habitat geography and habitat type did not improve the predictive power of regression models. Approximately 11% of the clonal snail genotypes were shared among 2-4 populations, creating a web of 17 interconnected populations. Taken together, our study suggests that parasite-mediated selection coupled with host dispersal ecology promotes clonal diversity. This, in return, may erode the advantage of sexual reproduction in M. tuberculata populations.

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