ResearchPad - sex-ratio Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Corticosterone and testosterone treatment influence expression of gene pathways linked to meiotic segregation in preovulatory follicles of the domestic hen]]> Decades of work indicate that female birds can control their offspring sex ratios in response to environmental and social cues. In laying hens, hormones administered immediately prior to sex chromosome segregation can exert sex ratio skews, indicating that these hormones may act directly on the germinal disc to influence which sex chromosome is retained in the oocyte and which is discarded into an unfertilizable polar body. We aimed to uncover the gene pathways involved in this process by testing whether treatments with testosterone or corticosterone that were previously shown to influence sex ratios elicit changes in the expression of genes and/or gene pathways involved in the process of meiotic segregation. We injected laying hens with testosterone, corticosterone, or control oil 5h prior to ovulation and collected germinal discs from the F1 preovulatory follicle in each hen 1.5h after injection. We used RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) followed by DESeq2 and gene set enrichment analyses to identify genes and gene pathways that were differentially expressed between germinal discs of control and hormone-treated hens. Corticosterone treatment triggered downregulation of 13 individual genes, as well as enrichment of gene sets related to meiotic spindle organization and chromosome segregation, and additional gene sets that function in ion transport. Testosterone treatment triggered upregulation of one gene, and enrichment of one gene set that functions in nuclear chromosome segregation. This work indicates that corticosterone can be a potent regulator of meiotic processes and provides potential gene targets on which corticosterone and/or testosterone may act to influence offspring sex ratios in birds.

<![CDATA[A field test on the effectiveness of male annihilation technique against Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) at varying application densities]]>

Male Annihilation Technique (MAT) is a key tool to suppress or eradicate pestiferous tephritid fruit flies for which there exist powerful male lures. In the case of Bactrocera dorsalis (Hendel), a highly invasive and destructive species, current implementations of MAT utilize a combination of the male attractant methyl eugenol (ME) and a toxicant such as spinosad (“SPLAT-MAT-ME”) applied at a high density with the goal of attracting and killing an extremely high proportion of males. We conducted direct comparisons of trap captures of marked B. dorsalis males released under three experimental SPLAT-MAT-ME site densities (110, 220, and 440 per km2) near Hilo, Hawaii using both fresh and aged traps to evaluate the effectiveness of varying densities and how weathering of the SPLAT-MAT-ME formulation influenced any density effects observed. Counterintuitively, we observed decreasing effectiveness (percent kill) with increasing application density. We also estimated slightly higher average kill for any given density for weathered grids compared with fresh. Spatial analysis of the recapture patterns of the first trap service per replicate x treatment reveals similar positional effects for all grid densities despite differences in overall percent kill. This study suggests that benefits for control and eradication programs would result from reducing the application density of MAT against B. dorsalis through reduced material use, labor costs, and higher effectiveness. Additional research in areas where MAT programs are currently undertaken would be helpful to corroborate this study’s findings.

<![CDATA[Temperature preference of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) juveniles induces spontaneous sex reversal]]>

Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) is an African freshwater fish that displays a genetic sex determination system (XX|XY) where high temperatures (above 32°C to 36.5°C) induce masculinization. In Nile tilapia, the thermosensitive period was reported from 10 to 30 days post fertilization. In their natural environment, juveniles may encounter high temperatures that are above the optimal temperature for growth (27–30°C). The relevance of the thermal sex reversal mechanism in a natural context remains unclear. The main objective of our study is to determine whether sexually undifferentiated juveniles spontaneously prefer higher, unfavorable temperatures and whether this choice skews the sex ratio toward males. Five full-sib progenies (from 100% XX crosses) were subjected to (1) a horizontal three-compartment thermal step gradient (thermal continuum 28°C– 32°C– 36.5°C) during the thermosensitive period, (2) a control continuum (28°C– 28°C– 28°C) and (3) a thermal control tank (36.5°C). During the first days of the treatment, up to an average of 20% of the population preferred the masculinizing compartment of the thermal continuum (36.5°C) compared to the control continuum. During the second part of the treatment, juveniles preferred the lower, nonmasculinizing 32°C temperature. This short exposure to higher temperatures was sufficient to significantly skew the sex ratio toward males, compared to congeners raised at 28°C (from 5.0 ± 6.7% to 15.6 ± 16.5% of males). The proportion of males was significantly different in the thermal continuum, thermal control tank and control continuum, and it was positively correlated among populations. Our study shows for the first time that Nile tilapia juveniles can choose a masculinizing temperature during a short period of time. This preference is sufficient to induce sex reversal to males within a population. For the first time, behavior is reported as a potential player in the sex determination mechanism of this species.

<![CDATA[Cryopreservation of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) VIENNA 8 genetic sexing strain: No effect on large scale production of high quality sterile males for SIT applications]]>

The sterile insect technique (SIT) integrated in area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) programmes is being used for the successful management of the Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) (Diptera: Tephritidae) which is a horticultural pest of economic importance in tropical and subtropical countries. All programmes with an SIT component are using the VIENNA genetic sexing strains (GSS), mainly the VIENNA 8 GSS, which have been developed by applying classical genetic approaches. The VIENNA 8 GSS carries two selectable markers, the white pupae and the temperature sensitive lethal genes, which allows the production and release of only males thus increasing the biological efficiency and cost effectiveness of SIT applications. However, mass rearing may affect quality traits of the GSS, in which case replenishment of the colony with wild flies is recommended, a process which is tedious and time consuming. We previously reported the development of a cryopreservation protocol for the VIENNA 8D53+ strain. In the present study, we report on the evaluation of the cryopreserved strain VIENNA 8D53+/Cryo-228L, reared under semi mass rearing conditions, for production parameters, quality control indices and mating competitiveness of males, in a comparative way with the non-cryopreserved VIENNA 8D53+ strain, against wild type males. The VIENNA 8D53+ and VIENNA 8D53+/Cryo-228L strains were similar for production parameters viz. egg production, pupal production, pupal recovery, and quality control indices like fly emergence, sex ratio and flight ability. Males from both strains were equally competitive with males of the wild type strain in achieving mating with wild type females under field cage conditions. Results are discussed in the context of cryopreservation as a potential backup strategy for refreshing the mass rearing colony with biological material from a cryopreserved stock.

<![CDATA[Matching the genetics of released and local Aedes aegypti populations is critical to assure Wolbachia invasion]]>


Traditional vector control approaches such as source reduction and insecticide spraying have limited effect on reducing Aedes aegypti population. The endosymbiont Wolbachia is pointed as a promising tool to mitigate arbovirus transmission and has been deployed worldwide. Models predict a rapid increase on the frequency of Wolbachia-positive Ae. aegypti mosquitoes in local settings, supported by cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) and high maternal transmission rate associated with the wMelBr strain.

Methodology/principle findings

Wolbachia wMelBr strain was released for 20 consecutive weeks after receiving >87% approval of householders of the isolated community of Tubiacanga, Rio de Janeiro. wMelBr frequency plateued~40% during weeks 7–19, peaked 65% but dropped as releases stopped. A high (97.56%) maternal transmission was observed. Doubling releases and deploying mosquitoes with large wing length and low laboratory mortality produced no detectable effects on invasion trend. By investigating the lab colony maintenance procedures backwardly, pyrethroid resistant genotypes in wMelBr decreased from 68% to 3.5% after 17 generations. Therefore, we initially released susceptible mosquitoes in a local population highly resistant to pyrethroids which, associated with the over use of insecticides by householders, ended jeopardizing Wolbachia invasion. A new strain (wMelRio) was produced after backcrossing wMelBr females with males from field to introduce mostly pyrethroid resistance alleles. The new strain increased mosquito survival but produced relevant negative effects on Ae. aegypti fecundity traits, reducing egg clutche size and egg hatch. Despite the cost on fitness, wMelRio successful established where wMelBr failed, revealing that matching the local population genetics, especially insecticide resistance background, is critical to achieve invasion.


Local householders support was constantly high, reaching 90% backing on the second release (wMelRio strain). Notwithstanding the drought summer, the harsh temperature recorded (daily average above 30°C) did not seem to affect the expression of maternal transmission of wMel on a Brazilian background. Wolbachia deployment should match the insecticide resistance profile of the wild population to achieve invasion. Considering pyrethroid-resistance is a widely distributed phenotype in natural Ae. aegypti populations, future Wolbachia deployments must pay special attention in maintaining insecticide resistance in lab colonies for releases.

<![CDATA[A simplified approach to measuring national gender inequality]]>

The Global Gender Gap Index is one of the best-known measures of national gender inequality, used by both academics and policy makers. We argue that that this measure has a number of problems and introduce a simpler measure of national levels of gender inequality. Our proposed measure is based on sex differences in the opportunity to lead a long healthy and satisfied life that is grounded on educational opportunities. The measure better captures variation in gender inequality than other measures, with inclusion of outcomes that can be favorable or unfavorable to either sex, not simply unfavorable to women. We focus on some of the most basic measures available for 134 countries from 2012–2016 (i.e., disadvantages in children’s basic education, life satisfaction, and healthy life span) and we relate these to various measures, including the United Nations' Human Development Index. We found that low levels of human development are typically associated with disadvantages for girls and women, while medium and high levels of development are typically associated with disadvantages for boys and men. Countries with the highest levels of human development are closest to gender parity, albeit typically with a slight advantage for women. We argue that the disparities, when they are found, are related to the sexual division of labor (i.e., traditional gender roles) in poorly developed countries as well as the underinvestment in preventative health care in more developed nations.

<![CDATA[Revisiting the Trivers-Willard theory on birth sex ratio bias: Role of paternal condition in a Malagasy primate]]>

Within current theories on potential adaptive manipulation of offspring sex ratio, giving birth to a male or to a female is assumed to depend on the capacity of the mother to invest in offspring to maximize her fitness. The active role of the father in sex ratio bias at birth has been neglected until recently. The human sex ratio at birth is biased towards sons, although in occidental populations, the ratio has decreased regularly for 30 years and could be the consequence of the adverse effects of environmental chemicals on male hormones. In a Malagasy primate, the lesser mouse lemur, the potential effect of paternal testosterone levels on sex ratio bias at birth was tested on 130 litters (278 babies) produced in 52 mixed-sex groups. For each group, social dominance among males was characterized based on aggressive interactions and sexual behaviours. Using a multi correspondence analysis, high testosterone levels in grouped males, particularly those of the dominant male, were significantly correlated with more infants produced in male-biased litters, independent of the female condition. According to these results, predictions for sex ratio bias towards one sex or the other in mouse lemurs were discussed considering the influence of both parents.

<![CDATA[Parasitism, sexual dimorphism and effect of host size on Apocephalus attophilus offspring, a parasitoid of the leaf-cutting ant Atta bisphaerica]]>

Atta bisphaerica (Forel) is a leaf-cutting ant that specializes on grass and causes productivity losses in sugar cane fields and pastures. Three phorid species, Apocephalus attophilus (Borgmeier), Myrmosicarius grandicornis (Borgmeier) and Eibesfeldtphora bragancai (Brown), have been found parasitizing A. bisphaerica workers. These parasitoids can reduce plant material transported into the nests and ant traffic on the trails. Therefore, phorid flies have been considered potential biological control agents for leaf-cutting ants. Here, we evaluated which parasitoid species attack the leaf-cutting ant A. bisphaerica in pasture areas of a Brazilian Savannah-Atlantic Forest ecotone, parasitism rate, effect of host size, sexual dimorphism and sex ratio of the emerged parasitoids. Four nests of A. bisphaerica were selected in pasture areas from August 2016 to August 2017, with 400 workers collected from each colony monthly. A total of 23,714 A. bisphaerica workers were collected during the study, of which 236 (0.99%) were parasitized by phorid parasitoids. Apocephalus attophilus, E. bragancai and M. grandicornis parasitized 217, 17 and 2 ants, respectively. The higher parasitism rate was found in the hottest/rainy season of the year. Non-parasitized ants survived longer than those parasitized by A. attophilus. The larval and pupal periods of this parasitoid were 2.2 ± 0.8 and 16 ± 1.4 days, respectively, and the number of pupae per parasitized ant ranged from 1 to 7. The number of A. attophilus pupae per host increased with the host head size. Likewise, the size of the adult parasitoids also increased according to the host ant. Apocephalus attophilus females were larger than males and the sex ratio (male: female) did not differ from 1: 1. Our results showed that A. attophilus would be a potential biocontrol agent of leaf-cutting ants because it produces multiple larvae per host, allowing a great production of parasitoids with short developmental time and kills the host ant faster than other phorids.