Male-specific alleles in the Ryukyu drywood termite Neotermes sugioi

Ecol Evol. 2020 Sep 1;10(18):9584-9587. doi: 10.1002/ece3.6671. eCollection 2020 Sep.


Sex-determination systems often show remarkable diversity in upstream signals, although downstream genes are broadly conserved. Therefore, the downstream genes have been investigated in various taxa, but the most upstream signals determining sex in insects have been well-described mainly in model organisms, including fruit flies and honey bees, and not in hemimetabolous insects such as termites. Identification of sex-linked genetic markers in termites is important to the survey of primary sex-determination signals. Here, we report male-specific alleles at the microsatellite locus NK12-1 in the Ryukyu drywood termite Neotermes sugioi (Kalotermitidae). This study provides the third example of a genetic marker linked with sexual phenotype in termites, which is a small but important step to elucidate the evolutionary process of the sex-determination system in termites.

Keywords: Isoptera; genetic markers; geographical variation; sex determination.