The quantitative genetic basis of sex ratio variation in Nasonia vitripennis: a QTL study

J Evol Biol. 2011 Jan;24(1):12-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02129.x. Epub 2010 Oct 26.


Our understanding of how natural selection should shape sex allocation is perhaps more developed than for any other trait. However, this understanding is not matched by our knowledge of the genetic basis of sex allocation. Here, we examine the genetic basis of sex ratio variation in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis, a species well known for its response to local mate competition (LMC). We identified a quantitative trait locus (QTL) for sex ratio on chromosome 2 and three weaker QTL on chromosomes 3 and 5. We tested predictions that genes associated with sex ratio should be pleiotropic for other traits by seeing if sex ratio QTL co-occurred with clutch size QTL. We found one clutch size QTL on chromosome 1, and six weaker QTL across chromosomes 2, 3 and 5, with some overlap to regions associated with sex ratio. The results suggest rather limited scope for pleiotropy between these traits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomes, Insect
  • Clutch Size / genetics
  • Female
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Sex Ratio
  • Wasps / genetics*