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Ostrinia revisited: Evidence for sex linkage in European Corn Borer Ostrinia nubilalis (Hubner) pheromone reception

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-10-285

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As part of a larger study to finely map the loci responsible for pheromone communication in this species, we have reanalyzed peripheral physiology among parental, and first and second generation hybrids between the two pheromone strains using tungsten electrode electrophysiology. Our results reveal that differences in spike amplitude ratio between male pheromone-sensitive sensory neurons in O. nubilalis races are controlled, at least partially, by sex-linked genes that exhibit E-strain dominance.We propose that peripheral olfactory response in O. nubilalis may be affected both by autosomal and sex-linked genes exhibiting a cross-locus dominance effect, and suggest that the genetic basis for pheromone reception and response in the species is more closely linked than previously thought.In recent years, sensory systems have received significant attention as catalysts to establish reproductive isolation between populations [1]. Chemical signals are perhaps the most ubiquitous sensory system, mediating behaviors between systems as diverse as gametes [2], and plants [3]. The evolution of pheromone diversity is an excellent resource to evaluate the role of sensory systems in speciation, both for its prevalence among several taxa and its definitive signal [4].In insects, sex pheromones are typically blends of small numbers of volatile organic compounds (e.g. [5]). Minute changes in the ratio or identity of the blend can drastically alter the nature of the response. These characteristics result in both an extraordinary specificity in pheromone communication, as well as the potential for huge diversity in pheromone blends [4]. Sex pheromones thus provide an enticing evolutionary palette for the analysis of reproductive isolation and the development of species diversity.Perhaps the most well studied system for assessing the role of pheromone diversity in reproductive isolation is the European Corn Borer (ECB; Ostrinia nubilalis). This species consists of two sympatric races, e


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