Genetic sex determination in three closely related hydrothermal vent gastropods, including one species with intersex individuals

Paru dans Journal of Evolutionary Biology

Castel, J.,  Pradillon, F., Cueff, V., Leger, G., Daguin-Thiébaut, C., Ruault, S., Mary, J., Hourdez, S., Jollivet, D., Broquet, T.

Molluscs have undergone many transitions between separate sexes and hermaphroditism, which is of interest in studying the evolution of sex determination and differentiation. Here, we combined multi-locus genotypes obtained from restriction site-associated DNA (RAD) sequencing with anatomical observations of the gonads of three deep-sea hydrothermal vent gastropods of the genus Alviniconcha living in the southwest Pacific. We found that all three species (Alviniconcha boucheti, Alviniconcha strummeri, and Alviniconcha kojimai) share the same male-heterogametic XY sex-determination system but that the gonads of XX A. kojimai individuals are invaded by a variable proportion of male reproductive tissue. The identification of Y-specific RAD loci (found only in A. boucheti) and the phylogenetic analysis of three sex-linked loci shared by all species suggested that X-Y recombination has evolved differently within each species. This situation of three species showing variation in gonadal development around a common sex-determination system provides new insights into the reproductive mode of poorly known deep-sea species and opens up an opportunity to study the evolution of recombination suppression on sex chromosomes and its association with mixed or transitory sexual systems.