QTL for the species-specific male and female genital morphologies in Ohomopterus ground beetles

Mol Ecol. 2010 Dec;19(23):5231-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04883.x. Epub 2010 Oct 29.


Animals with internal fertilization often exhibit marked diversification in genital morphology among closely related species. However, our knowledge of the genetic architecture underlying genital evolution is still limited. We constructed genetic linkage maps and analysed quantitative trait loci (QTL) for F(2) hybrids of two closely related species of the carabid beetles Carabus (Ohomopterus) iwawakianus and C. (O.) maiyasanus, which show matching male and female genital shapes within species, but marked differences in genital morphologies between species. The linkage maps comprised both amplified fragment length polymorphism and microsatellite markers. Composite interval mapping to detect QTL for three traits of male copulatory piece (length, width, weight) and two traits for female vaginal appendix (length, width) resulted in the detection of one to five significant QTL for each trait. The QTL explained large proportions of phenotypic variance. Thus, the interspecific difference in the genital morphologies appeared to be determined by relatively small numbers of genes with large genetic effects. QTL of different traits for the same or different sexes co-occurred on five of eight linkage groups with significant QTL; in particular, three QTL for different male and female genital traits occurred almost at the same position. Each of the male genital traits showed uniform signs of additive genetic effects, suggesting that directional selection has led to species-specific morphologies. However, the signs of additive genetic effects in each female genital trait were not uniform, suggesting that coevolution between sexes is not necessarily concerted. This result requires further assessment because the sample size of F(2) females was small.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis
  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Coleoptera / anatomy & histology*
  • Coleoptera / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genitalia / anatomy & histology
  • Genotype
  • Male
  • Microsatellite Repeats
  • Phenotype
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Species Specificity