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Genome Biol Evol. 2019 Oct 1;11(10):2954-2962. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evz219.

Mapping of Multiple Complementary Sex Determination Loci in a Parasitoid Wasp.

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Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Department of Genomes and Genetics, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.
Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, the Netherlands.
Institute of Integrative Biology, ETH Zürich, Switzerland.
Department of Aquatic Ecology, EAWAG, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland.
Unit of Evolutionary Biology and Systematic Zoology, Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Germany.


Sex determination has evolved in a variety of ways and can depend on environmental and genetic signals. A widespread form of genetic sex determination is haplodiploidy, where unfertilized, haploid eggs develop into males and fertilized diploid eggs into females. One of the molecular mechanisms underlying haplodiploidy in Hymenoptera, the large insect order comprising ants, bees, and wasps, is complementary sex determination (CSD). In species with CSD, heterozygosity at one or several loci induces female development. Here, we identify the genomic regions putatively underlying multilocus CSD in the parasitoid wasp Lysiphlebus fabarum using restriction-site associated DNA sequencing. By analyzing segregation patterns at polymorphic sites among 331 diploid males and females, we identify up to four CSD candidate regions, all on different chromosomes. None of the candidate regions feature evidence for homology with the csd gene from the honey bee, the only species in which CSD has been characterized, suggesting that CSD in L. fabarum is regulated via a novel molecular mechanism. Moreover, no homology is shared between the candidate loci, in contrast to the idea that multilocus CSD should emerge from duplications of an ancestral single-locus system. Taken together, our results suggest that the molecular mechanisms underlying CSD in Hymenoptera are not conserved between species, raising the question as to whether CSD may have evolved multiple times independently in the group.


Lysiphlebus fabarum ; CSD; hymenoptera; sex determination

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