International scientists examine the complete genome of the Prussian carp and its invasive capabilities

The Prussian carp is one of the fish species that most successfully conquered Europe. Its ability to reproduce asexually provides a significant advantage over other species.

The complete genome of the Prussian carp has now been described for the first time by an international scientific team.

This also helps us better understand the unusual breeding strategy.

The research, led by Dunja Lamac from the University of Innsbruck’s Department of Lake Science Research, is published in the journal Nature Communications.

invasive fish


(Photo: Adam Rhodes/Unsplash)

An invasive species in Europe is the Prussian carp (Carassius gibelio), which is native to Asia. It is a close relative of the goldfish and struggles for the same habitat as the endangered native crucian carp.

However, the Prussian carp has a significant evolutionary advantage over goldfish and crucian carp as females may avoid the time-consuming search for a mate.

Instead, the female Prussian carp uses male crucian carps or the sperm of other carps. They achieve this by mixing with a group of carp, in which the males fertilize the eggs that they have laid.

The egg cell of the Prussian carp is stimulated to divide by the snatched sperm. Then the male’s genetic material is degraded in the egg cell without it being used.

This process is known as virgin production or sperm-dependent parthenogenesis. Cloned females of the Prussian carp are present in every offspring created in this way.

Males only occasionally appear in populations of Prussian carps, which are therefore entirely female.

According to Dunja Lamatsch, of the Research Department of Biology at the University of Innsbruck, located in Mondsee, Austria, monosexual reproduction, or exclusively female reproduction, allows rapid colonization of new ecosystems and gives invasive species a significant advantage over their native competitors. Her research focuses on understanding how aquatic species reproduce both sexes.

The genome, or the complete inherited information of an organism, is divided into many sets of chromosomes.

The majority of animals that reproduce sexually have a double (diploid) pair of chromosomes.

Only one pair (haploid) of chromosomes is passed at a time during meiosis, the process by which the male and female chromosomes are separated into germ cells for reproduction.

Finally, a diploid creature is created when a haploid egg and a haploid sperm fuse.

The Prussian carp has six pairs of chromosomes, making it hexaploid. The other two were added by cross with a fish that was quite similar. Four of them were created by crossing unrelated fish species.

Read more: Chinese black carp: Invasive species with human-like teeth invade American lakes

Prussian carp

The silver-brown Prussian carp is similar in appearance to the goldfish. It has a lifespan of five to ten years and reproduces frequently every year.

They have the ability to reproduce asexually through a process called reproduction, which uses the sperm of other fish species in the water column to stimulate the growth of eggs and the creation of new females that are essentially clones of the original.

Native fish species may suffer negative effects from this interference with reproduction.

The Prussian carp is extremely resilient and tolerant of a variety of environmental factors. This species has been discovered in aquatic habitats unsuitable for native fish species due to low oxygen levels and poor water quality.

They can outperform native species for food and habitat because they are general when it comes to habitat and eating.

It is a prolific intruder and a threat to the ecological safety of aquatic environments due to its life history features.

Currently, only Alberta and Saskatchewan in North America is the homeland of the Prussian carp. Avoid moving or releasing live fish into any body of water, and always wash your equipment after use in water to help stop the spread of Prussian carp.

Related articles: Assessment of barriers to invading Asian carp in a new study of the Great Lakes

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