High local genetic diversity and low outcrossing rate in Caenorhabditis elegans natural populations

  • Barrière A
  • Félix M
  • 132


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 194


    Citations of this article.


Background: Caenorhabditis elegans is a major model system in biology, yet very little is known about its biology outside the laboratory. In particular, its unusual mode of reproduction with self-fertile hermaphrodites and facultative males raises the question of its frequency of outcrossing in natural populations. Results: We describe the first analysis of C. elegans individuals sampled directly from natural populations. C. elegans is found predominantly in the dauer stage and with a very low frequency of males versus hermaphrodites. Whereas C. elegans was previously shown to display a low worldwide genetic diversity, we find by comparison a surprisingly high local genetic diversity of C. elegans populations; this local diversity is contributed in great part by immigration of new alleles rather than by mutation. Our results on heterozygote frequency, male frequency, and linkage disequilibrium furthermore show that selfing is the predominant mode of reproduction in C. elegans natural populations but that infrequent outcrossing events occur, at a rate of approximately 1%. Conclusions: Our results give a first insight in the biology of C. elegans in the natural populations. They demonstrate that local populations of C. elegans are genetically diverse and that a low frequency of outcrossing allows for the recombination of these locally diverse genotypes. ©2005 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Antoine Barrière

  • Marie Anne Félix

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free