Article: article from journal or magazin.
Are invasive marsh frogs (Pelophylax ridibundus) replacing the native P. lessonae /P. esculentus hybridogenetic complex in Western Europe? Genetic evidence from a field study.
The water-frog L-E system, widespread in Western Europe, comprises the pool frog Pelophylax lessonae and the hybridogenetic edible frog P. esculentus, which originated from hybridization between pool frogs and marsh frogs (P. ridibundus). In P. esculentus, the lessonae (L) genome is eliminated during meiosis and has to be gained anew each generation from a P. lessonae partner, while the ridibundus (R') genome is transmitted clonally. It therefore accumulates deleterious mutations, so that R'R' offspring from P. esculentus x P. esculentus crosses are normally unviable. This system is now threatened by invasive P. ridibundus (RR) imported from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. We investigated the genetic interactions between invasive marsh frogs and native water frogs in a Swiss wetland area, and used genetic data collected in the field to validate several components of a recently postulated mechanism of species replacement. We identified neo-ridibundus individuals derived from crosses between invasive ridibundus and native esculentus, as well as newly arisen hybridogenetic esculentus lineages stemming from crosses between invasive ridibundus (RR) and native lessonae (LL). As their ridibundus genomes are likely to carry less deleterious mutations, such lineages are expected to produce viable ridibundus offspring, contributing to species replacement. However, such crosses with invasive ridibundus only occurred at a limited scale; moreover, RR x LL crosses did not induce any introgression from the ridibundus to the lessonae genome. We did not find any ridibundus stemming from crosses between ancient esculentus lineages. Despite several decades of presence on the site, introduced ridibundus individuals only represent 15% of sampled frogs, and their spatial distribution seems shaped by specific ecological requirements rather than history of colonization. We therefore expect the three taxa to coexist stably in this area.
Amphibian, Hybridogenesis, Invasion, Microsatellites, Water frog
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