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Evidence of capacitation in the parasitoid wasp, Nasonia vitripennis and its potential role in sex allocation

By A.R.C Jones, E.B. Mallon

Posted 23 Sep 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/777540 (published DOI: 10.1002/ece3.6422)

The allocation of resources to the production of one sex or another has been observed in a large variety of animals. Its theoretical basis allows accurate predictions of offspring sex ratios in many species, but the mechanisms by which sex allocation is controlled are poorly understood. Using previously published data we investigated if alternative splicing, combined with differential expression, were involved with sex allocation in the parasitoid wasp, Nasonia vitripennis. We found that sex allocation is not controlled by alternative splicing but changes in gene expression, that were identified to be involved with oviposition, were shown to be similar to those involved in sperm motility, and capacitation. Genes involved in Cholesterol efflux, a key component of capacitation, along with calcium transport, trypsin and MAPKinase activity were regulated in ovipositing wasps. The results show evidence for regulation of sperm motility and of capacitation in an insect which, in the context of the physiology of the N. vitripennis spermatheca, could be important for sex allocation.

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