Most individuals of the loach Misgurnus anguillicaudatus reproduce bisexually, but cryptic clonal lineages reproduce by natural gynogenesis of unreduced diploid eggs that are genetically identical to maternal somatic cells. Triploid progeny often occur by the accidental incorporation of a sperm nucleus into diploid eggs. Sex reversal from a genetic female to a physiological male is easily induced in this species by androgen treatment and through environmental influences. Here, we produced clonal tetraploid individuals by two methods: 1) fertilization of diploid eggs from a clonal diploid female with diploid sperm of a hormonally sex-reversed clonal diploid male and 2) artificial inhibition of the release of the second polar body in eggs of clonal diploid females just after initiation of gynogenetic development. There is no genetic difference between the clonal diploid and tetraploid individuals except for the number of chromosome sets or genomes. Clonal tetraploid males never produced unreduced tetraploid sperm, only diploid sperm that were genetically identical to those of a clonal diploid. Likewise, clonal tetraploid females did not form unreduced tetraploid eggs, just diploid eggs. However, the eggs' genotypes were identical to those of the original clone, and almost all the eggs initiated natural gynogenesis. Thus, gametogenesis of the clonal tetraploid loach is controlled by the presence of two chromosome sets to pair, thereby preserving the normal meiotic process, i.e., the formation of bivalents and subsequently two successive divisions.
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Vol. 86 • No. 2