Identification of sex-specific molecular markers using restriction site-associated DNA sequencing

Authors

  • Tony Gamble,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
    2. Bell Museum of Natural History, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
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  • David Zarkower

    1. Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA
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Abstract

A major barrier to evolutionary studies of sex determination and sex chromosomes has been a lack of information on the types of sex-determining mechanisms that occur among different species. This is particularly problematic in groups where most species lack visually heteromorphic sex chromosomes, such as fish, amphibians and reptiles, because cytogenetic analyses will fail to identify the sex chromosomes in these species. We describe the use of restriction site-associated DNA (RAD) sequencing, or RAD-seq, to identify sex-specific molecular markers and subsequently determine whether a species has male or female heterogamety. To test the accuracy of this technique, we examined the lizard Anolis carolinensis. We performed RAD-seq on seven male and ten female A. carolinensis and found one male-specific molecular marker. Anolis carolinensis has previously been shown to possess male heterogamety and the recently published A. carolinensis genome facilitated the characterization of the sex-specific RAD-seq marker. We validated the male specificity of the new marker using PCR on additional individuals and also found that it is conserved in some other Anolis species. We discuss the utility of using RAD-seq to identify sex-determining mechanisms in other species with cryptic or homomorphic sex chromosomes and the implications for the evolution of male heterogamety in Anolis.

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