Development of sexing primers in Glyptemys insculpta and Apalone spinifera turtles uncovers an XX/XY sex-determining system in the critically-endangered bog turtle Glyptemys muhlenbergii
Endangered turtle conservation, GSD, Heterogamety, Molecular sexing, Next generation sequencing DNA-Seq, Sex chromosome evolution, Sex diagnosis, XX/XY and ZZ/ZW genotypic sex determination
Conservation Genetics Resources
In species or developmental stages where the sex of an individual cannot be reliably identified through external morphology, molecular markers can provide a critical tool to study sex-specific traits that are elusive otherwise. Here we generated two sets of sex-diagnostic PCR primers for each of two focal turtle species with contrasting genotypic sex determination (GSD) systems: the wood turtle, Glyptemys insculpta (XX/XY), and the spiny softshell turtle, Apalone spinifera (ZZ/ZW). These markers identified males and females with 100% accuracy as validated with numerous individuals of known sex. Notably, one of the markers developed for G. insculpta permitted the successful diagnosis of individual sex in the critically-endangered bog turtle, Glyptemys muhlenbergii, also with 100% accuracy. This cross-species application provided the first evidence that G. muhlenbergii shares an XX/XY sex-determining mechanism with G. insculpta, a finding with important evolutionary and conservation implications. Similarly, the markers from A. spinifera were successful in identifying the sex of two individuals (one male and one female) of the Chinese softshell turtle, Pelodiscus sinensis (ZZ/ZW). These cross-species observations highlight the potential applicability of these types of markers on closely related taxa that share a sex-determining mechanism, which should be tested in a case-by-case basis.
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DOI of published version
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Literman, Robert; Radhakrishnan, Srihari; Tamplin, Jeff; Burke, Russell; Dresser, Cassie; and Valenzuela, Nicole, "Development of sexing primers in Glyptemys insculpta and Apalone spinifera turtles uncovers an XX/XY sex-determining system in the critically-endangered bog turtle Glyptemys muhlenbergii" (2017). Faculty Publications. 811.