Genetic, morphometric, and molecular analyses of interspecies differences in head shape and hybrid developmental defects in the wasp genus Nasonia
AbstractMales in the parasitoid wasp genus Nasonia (N. vitripennis, N. giraulti, N. longicornis) have distinct, species specific, head shapes. Fertile hybrids among the species are readily produced in the lab allowing genetic analysis of the evolved differences. In addition, the obligate haploidy of males makes these wasps a uniquely powerful model for analyzing the role of complex gene interactions in development and evolution. Previous analyses have shown that complex gene interactions
... interactions underpin different aspects of the shape differences, and developmental incompatibilities that are specific to the head in F2 haploid hybrid males are also governed by networks of gene interaction. Here we use the genetic tools available in Nasonia to extend our understanding of the gene interactions that affect development and morphogenesis in male heads. Using artificial diploid male hybrids, we show that alleles affecting head shape are codominant, leading to uniform, averaged hybrid F1 diploid male heads, while the alleles mediating developmental defects are recessive, and are not visible in the diploid hybrids. We also determine that divergence in time, rather than in morphological disparity is the primary driver of hybrid developmental defects. In addition, we show that doublesex is necessary for the male head shape differences, but is not the only important factor. Finally we demonstrate that we can dissect complex interspecies gene interaction networks using introgression in this system. These advances represent significant progress in the complex web of gene interactions that govern morphological development, and chart the connections between genomic and phenotypic variation.