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Variation in Environmental and Genotypic Sex-Determining Mechanisms Across a Latitudinal Gradient in the Fish, Menidia menidia
Irma V. Lagomarsino and David O. Conover
Vol. 47, No. 2 (Apr., 1993), pp. 487-494
Published by: Society for the Study of Evolution
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410066
Page Count: 8
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Models of environmental sex determination (ESD) usually assume that genetic influences on sex are polygenic, but the validity of this (or any other) form of genotype-environment interaction is virtually unknown. In the Atlantic silverside, Menidia menidia, sex is determined by an interaction between temperature and genotype and the response of sex ratio to temperature differs among populations from different latitudes. We examined the genetic basis of this pattern by measuring among family variation in the proportion of females, F/(F + M), within and among high (21⚬C) and low (15⚬C) temperatures for two populations: one from Nova Scotia (NS) where the level of ESD is low, and another from South Carolina (SC) where the level of ESD is high. In NS fish, temperature had a significant influence on sex ratio in only 1 of 23 families. The distribution of the fraction of females within temperatures for families from NS was highly heterogeneous and tended to fall into distinct classes (0.0, 0.25, 0.5, 1.0) like that expected from Mendelian segregation of a major sex factor(s). In contrast, temperature had a highly significant influence on sex ratio in all SC families examined (N = 24). Family sex ratios within temperatures were highly heterogeneous and, at least at 15⚬C, did not conform to simple Mendelian ratios. At 21⚬C, the proportion of females in most SC families was near zero and so the underlying sex tendencies of different families could not be discerned. Based on a previous study, mid-latitude fish appear to have an intermediate form of sex determination: simple Mendelian sex-ratio patterns exist and there is a moderate thermal influence on sex ratio in most but not all families. We suggest that sex determination in M. menidia is controlled by an interaction between major genetic factors, polygenic factors, and temperature and that the relative importance of each component differs with latitude. High latitude populations appear to have evolved a major sex-determining factor(s) that overrides the effect of temperature, and this factor(s) is lacking in low latitude populations.
Evolution © 1993 Society for the Study of Evolution