Hybridisation generates a hopeful monster: a hermaphroditic selfing cichlid

Ola Svensson, Alan Smith, Javier Garcia-Alonso, Cock Van Oosterhout

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Compared to other phylogenetic groups, self-fertilization (selfing) is exceedingly rare in vertebrates and is known to occur only in one small clade of fishes. Here we report observing one F1 hybrid individual that developed into a functional hermaphrodite after crossing two closely related sexually reproducing species of cichlids. Microsatellite alleles segregated consistent with selfing and Mendelian inheritance and we could rule out different modes of parthenogenesis including automixis. We discuss why selfing is not more commonly observed in vertebrates in nature, and the role of hybridisation in the evolution of novel traits
Original languageEnglish
Article number150684
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2016


  • Colour polymorphism
  • disorders of sex development (DSDs)
  • Pundamilia pundamilia x Neochromis omnicaeruleus
  • self-fertilization
  • selfing
  • transgressive segregation

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