Genetic basis of paedomorphosis in the axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum: A test of the single-gene hypothesis

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A single gene is thought to control paedomorphosis in the axolotl, Ambystoma mexicanum. However, recent studies of related ambystomatids that show a facultative life-history response indicate a polygenic basis affected by local environment. Expression of life-history pathway was examined among a backcross family of hybrid ambystomatids. Ambystoma mexicanum was crossed to an obligately metamorphic species, A. tigrinum tigrinum and two F1 hybrids from this cross were backcrossed to the paedomorphic A. mexicanum lineage. First- and second-generation offspring were reared in isolation under controlled environmental conditions. All first-generation offspring metamorphosed, but for second-generation off spring, non-Mendelian ratios of metamorphs and paedomorphs were observed within environmental treatments. In contrast, expected Mendelian ratios were observed within treatment groups for color phenotypes that are known to be controlled by single-gene loci. These data do not support the hypothesis of a single-gene difference underlying life-history pathway differences between paedomorphlc versus metamorphic species of ambystomatids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-447
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1995

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
From the Department of Biological Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina. S R. Voss Is now at the Center for Population Biology and Section of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616. The following people helped maintain salamanders: M. Voss, L Edwards, and E. Chrlstensen. The Indiana University axolotl colony provided the axolotls for this study. I especially thank Susan Duhon for technical advice and Information. David Heckel and an anonymous reviewer provided statistical advice. Brad Shaffer also critically reviewed the manuscript. This study was supported by NSF grant BSR-8415756 to David Heckel, NSF Dissertation Improvement grant BSR-9101128, and a NSF-EPSCOR grant to the state of South Carolina.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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