Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand; Omics Center for Agriculture, Bioresources, Food, and Health, Faculty of Science, Kasetsart University (OmiKU), Bangkok 10900, Thailand. Electronic address: [Email]
Sexual differentiation, dimorphism, and courtship behavior are the downstream developmental programs of the sex determination cascade. The sex determination cascade in arthropods often involves key genes, transformer (tra), double sex (dsx), transformer-2 (tra2), and fruitless (fru). These genes are conserved among insect taxa; however, they have never been reported in fireflies. In this study, the candidate genes for these key genes were identified for the first time in an aquatic firefly, Sclerotia aquatilis using transcriptome analysis. A comparative protein-protein interaction (PPI) network of sex determination cascade was reconstructed for S. aquatilis based on a network of a model insect, Drosophila melanogaster. Subsequently, a sex determination cascade in S. aquatilis was proposed based on, the amino acid sequence structures and expression profiles of these candidates. This study describes the first efforts toward understanding the molecular control of sex determination cascade in fireflies.