Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies


During fertilization, male and female gametes fuse and a diploid organism is generated. However, in some cases, not all of the genes from a parental genome are expressed. Such instances are known as genomic imprinting—when a gene from the genome of one parent is expressed and the respective gene from the other parental genome is silenced. When the gene that is meant to be expressed is absent or not functioning correctly, a genetic disorder can occur. In humans, such genetic disorders include Prader-Willi, Angelman, Beckwith-Wiedemann, and Silver-Russell syndromes. This experiment studies the effects of genomic imprinting in the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis. This organism undergoes macro scale genomic imprinting during its sexual reproduction. When male genes are present in fertilized eggs, female offspring are produced. Conversely, when male genes are absent in unfertilized eggs, male offspring are produced. The results of the experimentation with Nasonia vitripennis strongly support the use of haplodiploid inheritance in the sexual reproduction of this species. Specifically, cross results for eyecolor exclude inheritance via standard dominant/recessive genetics. In summary, this study focuses on the sexual reproduction of Nasonia vitripennis through haplodiploid inheritance, the relevance to genomic imprinting, and how studying genomic imprinting in Nasonia vitripennis allows for understanding of the genomic imprinting in humans.

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