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Molecular Ecology

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Next‐generation sequencing methods have initiated a revolution in molecular ecology and evolution (Tautz et al. 2010). Among the most impressive of these sequencing innovations is restriction site‐associated DNA sequencing or RAD‐seq (Baird et al. 2008; Andrews et al. 2016). RAD‐seq uses the Illumina sequencing platform to sequence fragments of DNA cut by a specific restriction enzyme and can generate tens of thousands of molecular genetic markers for analysis. One of the many uses of RAD‐seq data has been to identify sex‐specific genetic markers, markers found in one sex but not the other (Baxter et al. 2011; Gamble & Zarkower 2014). Sex‐specific markers are a powerful tool for biologists. At their most basic, they can be used to identify the sex of an individual via PCR. This is useful in cases where a species lacks obvious sexual dimorphism at some or all life history stages. For example, such tests have been important for studying sex differences in life history (Sheldon 1998; Mossman & Waser 1999), the management and breeding of endangered species (Taberlet et al. 1993; Griffiths & Tiwari 1995; Robertson et al. 2006) and sexing embryonic material (Hacker et al. 1995; Smith et al. 1999). Furthermore, sex‐specific markers allow recognition of the sex chromosome system in cases where standard cytogenetic methods fail (Charlesworth & Mank 2010; Gamble & Zarkower 2014). Thus, species with male‐specific markers have male heterogamety (XY) while species with female‐specific markers have female heterogamety (ZW). In this issue, Fowler & Buonaccorsi (2016) illustrate the ease by which RAD‐seq data can generate sex‐specific genetic markers in rockfish (Sebastes). Moreover, by examining RAD‐seq data from two closely related rockfish species, Sebastes chrysomelas and Sebastes carnatus (Fig. 1), Fowler & Buonaccorsi (2016) uncover shared sex‐specific markers and a conserved sex chromosome system.


Accepted version. Molecular Ecology, Vol. 25, No. 10 (May 2016) : 2114-2116. DOI. © 2016 Wiley. Used with permission.

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