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The Nix locus on the male-specific homologue of chromosome 1 in Aedes albopictus is a strong candidate for a male-determining factor
- Gomulski, Ludvik M., Mariconti, Marina, Di Cosimo, Alessandro, Scolari, Francesca, Manni, Mosè, Savini, Grazia, Malacrida, Anna R., Gasperi, Giuliano
- Parasites & vectors 2018 v.11 no.Supplement 2 pp. 647
- Aedes albopictus, DNA, alleles, chromosome number, control methods, exons, introns, loci, sex determination, sex determination analysis, sterile insect technique, vector competence
- BACKGROUND: Global concern over the rapid expansion of the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, and its vector competence has highlighted an urgent need to improve currently available population control methods, like the Sterile Insect Technique. Knowledge of the sex determination cascade is a prerequisite for the development of early-stage sexing systems. To this end, we have characterised the putative sex determination gene, Nix, in this species. In Aedes species the chromosome complement consists of three pairs of chromosomes. The sex determination alleles are linked to the smallest homomorphic chromosome. RESULTS: We identified the male-specific chromosome 1 of Ae. albopictus that carries the putative male-determining gene Nix. We have also characterised the complete genomic sequence of the Nix gene which is composed of two exons and a short intron. The gene displays different levels of intron retention during development. Comparison of DNA sequences covering most of the Nix gene from individuals across the species range revealed no polymorphism. CONCLUSIONS: Our characterisation of the Nix gene in Ae. albopictus represents an initial step in the analysis of the sex determination cascade in this species. We found evidence of intron retention (IR) in Nix. IR might play a role in regulating the expression of Nix during development. Our results provide the basis for the development of new genetic control strategies.