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 multi-locus CSD in the parasitoid wasp Lysiphlebus fabarum using restriction-site associated DNA sequencing. By analysing 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 multi-locus 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.
- EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY