A small number of genes may interact to determine sex, but few such examples have been demonstrated in animals, especially through comprehensive mating experiments. The highly invasive apple snail Pomacea canaliculata is gonochoristic and shows a large variation in brood sex ratio, and the involvement of multiple genes has been suggested for this phenomenon. We conducted mating experiments to determine whether their sex determination involves a few or many genes (i.e., oligogenic or polygenic sex determination, respectively). Full-sib females or males that were born from the same parents were mated to an adult of the opposite sex, and the brood sex ratios of the parents and their offspring were investigated. Analysis of a total of 4288 offspring showed that the sex ratios of offspring from the full-sib females were variable but clustered into only a few values. Similar patterns were observed for the full-sib males, although the effect was less clear because fewer offspring were used (n = 747). Notably, the offspring sex ratios of all full-sib females in some families were nearly 0.5 (proportion of males) with little variation. These results indicate that the number of genotypes of the full-sibs, and hence genes involved in sex determination, is small in this snail. Such oligogenic systems may be a major sex-determining system among animals, especially those with variable sex ratios.
Genetica – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 26, 2018
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