Genetics of sex-ratio variation inferred from parent-offspring regressions and sib correlations in the apple snail Pomacea canaliculata

Heredity (Edinb). 2006 Jan;96(1):100-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.hdy.6800758.


The brood sex ratio in the apple snail Pomacea canaliculata varies almost continuously from all male to all female, but the population sex ratio is nearly 1:1. In this study, regressions of the offspring sex ratio on the sex ratios of the parents' siblings as well as correlations in the brood sex ratios between sisters or brothers were investigated, in order to infer the genetic system that produces the sex-ratio pattern. There were significant positive relationships between the offspring sex ratio and the sex ratio of the mother's siblings (slope=0.28), and between the offspring sex ratios of two sisters (r=0.41). On the other hand, the father-offspring regression (slope=0.10), and the correlations between two brothers (r=-0.13) or between the brother and the sister (r=0.17) were not significant. These patterns differed from predictions using typical cytoplasmic sex factors, sex-ratio genes or sex-determining polygenes. Thus, the results suggest the involvement of either a small number of sex-determining genes or a more complicated system such as sex-ratio or sex-determining polygenes that act nonadditively.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Inheritance Patterns
  • Male
  • Pedigree
  • Sex Determination Processes*
  • Sex Ratio*
  • Snails / genetics*
  • Snails / physiology