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A masculinizing supergene underlies an exaggerated male reproductive morph in a spider

Citation

Hendrickx, Frederik et al. (2021), A masculinizing supergene underlies an exaggerated male reproductive morph in a spider, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8931zcrq5

Abstract

In many species, individuals can develop into strikingly different morphs, which are determined by a simple Mendelian locus. How selection shapes loci that control complex p henotypic differences remains poorly understood. In the spider gibbosus, males either develop into a ‘hunched’morph with conspicuous head structures or as a fast developing ‘flat’morph with a female- like appearance. We show that the hunched differs from the f lat-determinin g allele by a hunch-specific genomic fragment of approximately 3 megabases. This fragment comprises dozens of genes that duplicated from genes found at different chromosomes. All functional duplicates, including doublesex- a key sexual differentiation regulatory gene, show male-specific expression, which il lustrates their combined role as a masculinizing supergene. Our findings demonstrate how extensive indel polymorphisms and duplications of regulatory genes may contribute to t he evolution of co-adapted gene clusters, sex-limi ted reproductive morphs, and the enigmatic evolution of exaggerated sexual traits in general.

Funding

Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Award: (1527617N