Repository logo

A genetic basis for facultative parthenogenesis in Drosophila.

Published version

Repository DOI



Change log


Fabian, Daniel K 
Garrison, Erik 
Glover, David M 


Facultative parthenogenesis enables sexually reproducing organisms to switch between sexual and asexual parthenogenetic reproduction. To gain insights into this phenomenon, we sequenced the genomes of sexually reproducing and parthenogenetic strains of Drosophila mercatorum and identified differences in the gene expression in their eggs. We then tested whether manipulating the expression of candidate gene homologs identified in Drosophila mercatorum could lead to facultative parthenogenesis in the non-parthenogenetic species Drosophila melanogaster. This identified a polygenic system whereby increased expression of the mitotic protein kinase polo and decreased expression of a desaturase, Desat2, caused facultative parthenogenesis in the non-parthenogenetic species that was enhanced by increased expression of Myc. The genetically induced parthenogenetic Drosophila melanogaster eggs exhibit de novo centrosome formation, fusion of the meiotic products, and the onset of development to generate predominantly triploid offspring. Thus, we demonstrate a genetic basis for sporadic facultative parthenogenesis in an animal.



Drosophila, asexual, development, embryogenesis, facultative parthenogenesis, functional genomics, genome, polyploid, reproduction, transcriptiomics, Animals, Drosophila, Drosophila melanogaster, Parthenogenesis, Centrosome

Journal Title

Curr Biol

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Elsevier BV