Article: article from journal or magazin.
An extinct vertebrate preserved by its living hybridogenetic descendant.
Hybridogenesis is a special mode of hybrid reproduction where one parental genome is eliminated and the other is transmitted clonally. We propose that this mechanism can perpetuate the genome of extinct species, based on new genetic data from Pelophylax water frogs. We characterized the genetic makeup of Italian hybridogenetic hybrids (P. kl. hispanicus and esculentus) and identified a new endemic lineage of Eastern-Mediterranean origin as one parental ancestor of P. kl. hispanicus. This taxon is nowadays extinct in the wild but its germline subsists through its hybridogenetic descendant, which can thus be considered as a "semi living fossil". Such rare situation calls for realistic efforts of de-extinction through selective breeding without genetic engineering, and fuels the topical controversy of reviving long extinct species. "Ghost" species hidden by taxa of hybrid origin may be more frequent than suspected in vertebrate groups that experienced a strong history of hybridization and semi-sexual reproduction.
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