, Volume 139, Issue 11–12, pp 1509–1519 | Cite as

Paternal leakage of mitochondrial DNA in experimental crosses of populations of the potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida

  • Angelique H. Hoolahan
  • Vivian C. Blok
  • Tracey Gibson
  • Mark Dowton


Animal mtDNA is typically assumed to be maternally inherited. Paternal mtDNA has been shown to be excluded from entering the egg or eliminated post-fertilization in several animals. However, in the contact zones of hybridizing species and populations, the reproductive barriers between hybridizing organisms may not be as efficient at preventing paternal mtDNA inheritance, resulting in paternal leakage. We assessed paternal mtDNA leakage in experimental crosses of populations of a cyst-forming nematode, Globodera pallida. A UK population, Lindley, was crossed with two South American populations, P5A and P4A. Hybridization of these populations was supported by evidence of nuclear DNA from both the maternal and paternal populations in the progeny. To assess paternal mtDNA leakage, a ~3.4 kb non-coding mtDNA region was analyzed in the parental populations and in the progeny. Paternal mtDNA was evident in the progeny of both crosses involving populations P5A and P4A. Further, paternal mtDNA replaced the maternal mtDNA in 22 and 40 % of the hybrid cysts from these crosses, respectively. These results indicate that under appropriate conditions, paternal leakage occurs in the mtDNA of parasitic nematodes, and supports the hypothesis that hybrid zones facilitate paternal leakage. Thus, assumptions of strictly maternal mtDNA inheritance may be frequently violated, particularly when divergent populations interbreed.


Paternal leakage mtDNA inheritance Mitochondrial DNA Heteroplasmy Biparental inheritance Hybrid zone 



This work was supported by the Australian Research Council [DP0556520]; the University of Wollongong Internationalization Committee [UIC2007]; the Australian Academy of Science [RI 146] and the Scottish Executive’s Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate Workpackage 1.5.4. The technical support and assistance of M. Phillips, A. Holt and A. Paterson are gratefully acknowledged. Sequence data from this article have been deposited with the EMBL/GenBank. Data Libraries under accession numbers HQ670242-HQ670401.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

10709_2012_9650_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (216 kb)
Online Resource 1 Electropherograms of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region sequenced from the parental populations and 3 progeny from an experimental cross of Globodera pallida populations P5A and Lindley. Arrows indicate examples of where there are 2 bases present at the same site in the progeny, corresponding to the two different nucleotides that were evident at that polymorphic site when the maternal and paternal sequences are compared (underlined). (a) Maternal ITS sequence from population P5A. (b) Paternal ITS sequence from population Lindley. (c-e) Progeny ITS sequences from 3 cysts of the cross of populations P5A and Lindley (PDF 216 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelique H. Hoolahan
    • 1
  • Vivian C. Blok
    • 2
  • Tracey Gibson
    • 1
  • Mark Dowton
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Cell and Molecular SciencesJames Hutton InstituteDundeeUK

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