Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/31/2023
Publication Date: 8/23/2023
Citation: Warcup, K., Torson, A.S., Yocum, G.D. 2023. Identification of sex-specific markers based on gene expression in adult Colorado potato beetles. Journal of Insect Science. 23(4):1-6. https://doi.org/10.1093/jisesa/iead071.
Interpretive Summary: The Colorado potato beetle is an economically important pest insect of potatoes. Understanding how males and females differ in their ability to invade potato fields is important for developing modern control methods. However, males and females are difficult to distinguish visually. Therefore, we developed a simple molecular tool to determine the sex of individual Colorado potato beetle adults. This method will allow researchers to distinguish the sex of individuals using basic molecular biology equipment and facilitate sex-specific inquires in this major pest species.
Technical Abstract: The Colorado potato beetle is an economically important pest insect of potatoes. Understanding how the mechanisms driving its invasion-relevant phenotypes vary between males and females will be critical for developing modern control methods. However, the currently available methods for sexing adult Colorado potato beetles are either inefficient or unsuitable for projects that require RNA as an input, like those measuring gene expression. Therefore, the development of simple molecular tools that are tailored to these studies is important. In this study, we used publicly available RNA-seq data to select five candidate genes for sex-specific markers in adult Colorado potato beetles. We confirmed that our five marker candidates exhibit a sex-specific expression pattern and can be used as PCR markers for sex. This method of sex detection will allow researchers to distinguish the sex of the individual with a simple PCR reaction using RNA as the template and assign sex to RNA-seq samples post hoc.