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A genetic component to resistance to fungal infection in frog embryos

  • Jörgen Sagvik
  • Tobias Uller
  • Mats Olsson
Publishing year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 1393-1396
Publication/Series: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volume: 275
Issue: 1641
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Royal Society

Abstract english

The embryo has traditionally been considered to completely rely upon parental strategies to prevent threats to survival posed by predators and pathogens, such as fungi. However, recent evidence suggests that embryos may have hitherto neglected abilities to counter pathogens. Using artificial fertilization, we show that among-family variation in the number of Saprolegnia-infected eggs and embryos in the moor frog, Rana arvalis, cannot be explained by maternal effects. However, analysed as a within-females effect, sire identity had an effect on the degree of infection. Furthermore, relatively more eggs and embryos were infected when eggs were fertilized by sperm from the same, compared with a different, population. These effects were independent of variation in fertilization success. Thus, there is likely to be a significant genetic component in embryonic resistance to fungal infection in frog embryos. Early developmental stages may show more diverse defences against pathogens than has previously been acknowledged


  • Biological Sciences


  • ISSN: 1471-2954