Male-specific exaggerated horns are an evolutionary novelty and have diverged rapidly via intrasexual selection. Here, we investigated the function of the conserved sex-determination gene doublesex (dsx) in the Japanese rhinoceros beetle (Trypoxylus dichotomus) using RNA interference (RNAi). Our results show that the sex-specific T. dichotomus dsx isoforms have an antagonistic function for head horn formation and only the male isoform has a role for thoracic horn formation. These results indicate that the novel sex-specific regulation of dsx during horn morphogenesis might have been the key evolutionary developmental event at the transition from sexually monomorphic to sexually dimorphic horns.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology