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Evidence of oligogenic sex determination in the apple snail Pomacea canaliculata

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Maki Nakamura for help in rearing the animals, and Yoshito Suzuki, Satoshi Takahashi, Keiji Wada, and our laboratory members for discussion and encouragement.

Funding

This study was funded by Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (19570019).

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Correspondence to Yoichi Yusa.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

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All procedures performed in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Appendix

Appendix

See Tables 3, 4.

Table 3 Brood sex ratios of parents and their offspring, and survival rates during rearing, including data for additional full-sib females
Table 4 Brood sex ratios of parents and their offspring, and survival rates during rearing, of crosses within and between two families

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Yusa, Y., Kumagai, N. Evidence of oligogenic sex determination in the apple snail Pomacea canaliculata. Genetica 146, 265–275 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10709-018-0017-z

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10709-018-0017-z

Keywords

  • Inheritance
  • Mollusca
  • Oligogenes
  • Polygenic sex determination
  • Sex ratio