A high-density genetic map and molecular sex-typing assay for gerbils.


School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2DG, UK. [Email]


We constructed a high-density genetic map for Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). We genotyped 137 F2 individuals with a genotype-by-sequencing (GBS) approach at over 10,000 loci and built the genetic map using a two-step approach. First, we chose the highest-quality set of 485 markers to construct a robust map of 1239 cM with 22 linkage groups as expected from the published karyotype. Second, we added an additional 5449 markers onto the map based on their genotype similarity with the original markers. We used the final marker set to assemble 1140 genomic scaffolds (containing ~ 20% of annotated genes) into a chromosome-level assembly. We used both genetic linkage and relative sequencing coverage in males and females to identify X- and Y-chromosome scaffolds and from these we designed a robust and internally-controlled PCR assay to determine sex. This assay will facilitate early stage sex-typing of embryonic and young gerbils which is difficult using current visual methods. Accession ID: Meriones unguiculatus: 10047.