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Data from: Distinct developmental mechanisms influence sexual dimorphisms in the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus


Angelini, David et al. (2022), Data from: Distinct developmental mechanisms influence sexual dimorphisms in the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus, Dryad, Dataset,


Sexual dimorphism is common in animals. The most complete model of sex determination comes from Drosophila melanogaster, where the relative dosage of autosomes and X chromosomes leads indirectly to sex-specific transcripts of doublesex (dsx). Female Dsx interacts with a mediator complex protein encoded by intersex to activate female development. In males the transcription factor encoded by fruitless promotes male-specific behavior. The genetics of sex determination have been examined in a small number of other insects, yet several questions remain about the plesiomorphic state. Is doublesex required for female and male development? Is fruitless conserved in male behavior or morphology? Are other components such as intersex functionally conserved? To address these questions, we report the expression and functional tests of doublesex, intersex and fruitless in the hemipteran Oncopeltus fasciatus, characterizing three sexual dimorphisms. doublesex prevents intersex phenotypes in all sexes and dimorphic traits in the milkweed bug. intersex and fruitless are expressed across the body, in females and males. fruitless and intersex also affect the genitalia of both sexes but have effects limited to different dimorphic structures in different sexes. These results reveal roles for intersex and fruitless distinct from other insects and demonstrate distinct development mechanisms in different sexually dimorphic structures.


This publication contains amino acid alignments produced using ClustalW, protein trees produced using maximum likelihood, linear morphological measurements, 2D landmark  coordinates for morphology and the associated analysis code, as well as gene expression values.


National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-1350207

National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Award: P20GM0103423

Colby College