In many bivalve species, paternal and maternal mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from sperm and eggs is transmitted to the offspring. This phenomenon is known as doubly uniparental inheritance (DUI). In these species, sperm mtDNA (M type) is inherited by the male gonad of the offspring. Egg mtDNA (F type) is inherited by both male and female somatic cells and female gonadal cells. In Mytilidae, sperm mitochondria are distributed in the cytoplasm of differentiating male germ cells because they are transmitted to the male gonad. In the present study, we investigated maternal inheritance of mtDNA in the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas. Sequence analysis of two mitochondrial non-coding regions revealed an identical sequence pattern in the gametes and adductor muscle samples taken from six males and five females. To observe whether sperm mitochondria were specifically located in the cytoplasm of differentiating germ cells, their distribution was recorded in C. gigas fertilized eggs by vital staining with MitoTracker Green. Although the 1D blastomere was identified in the cytoplasm of differentiating germ cells, sperm mitochondria were located at the 1D blastomere in only 32% of eggs during the 8-cell stage. Thus, in C. gigas, sperm mitochondria do not specifically locate in the germ cell region at the 1D blastomere. We suggest that the distribution of sperm mitochondria is not associated with germ cell formation in C. gigas. Furthermore, as evidenced by the mtDNA sequences of two non-coding regions, we conclude that mitochondrial DNA is maternally inherited in this species.
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1 March 2008
Maternal Inheritance of Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas): a Preliminary Study Using mtDNA Sequence Analysis with Evidence of Random Distribution of MitoTracker-Stained Sperm Mitochondria in Fertilized Eggs