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Reproduction and Cytogenetics in Romanomermis Culicivorax (Nematoda: Mermithidae)

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Twelve chromosomes, two significantly larger than the rest, were observed in dividing hypodermal nuclei during the massive growth phase of female juveniles of R. culicivorax. The same number (2n = 12) was also detected in eggs deposited at the 5- to 64-cell stage of cleavage. Some hypodermal nuclei were polyploid (tetraploid or octaploid), evidently as a result of endomitosis. Maturation of oocytes was by regular meiosis leading to reduction of the chromosome number to n = 6. Re-establishment of the somatic chromosome number was by fusion of sperm and egg pronuclei. Non-inseminated females failed to produce mature eggs. It was concluded that reproduction was exclusively by cross-fertilization. However, the possibility that, under certain conditions, reproduction may be by gynogenesis could not be excluded entirely.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pure & Applied Biology, Imperial College at Silwood Park, Ascot, Berkshire, England, SL5 7DE; 2: Department of Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C. 27650, U.S.A.


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