Molecular sexing of Lepidoptera

Irina Belousova, Nikita Ershov, Sergey Pavlushin, Yury Ilinsky, Vyacheslav Martemyanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


We developed a universal method of Lepidoptera molecular sexing. The method is based on comparing the number of copies of the same gene in different sexes. Males of the majority of lepidopteran species have two Z chromosomes, whereas females have only one Z chromosome. Correspondingly, the number of copies of each gene located on this chromosome differs by two times between males and females. For quantitative estimation, we used qPCR. Via multiple alignment of the kettin (a Z chromosome gene) nucleotide sequences, we detected the most conserved fragment and designed primers with broad interspecies specificity for Lepidoptera. Using these primers, we successfully determined the sex of three lepidopteran species belonging to different superfamilies. The developed method is a simple, cost-effective and high-throughput technique for routine sexing. The sex of lepidopteran individuals can be examined at any developmental stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-56
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Insect Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Galleria mellonella
  • Kettin
  • Lymantria dispar
  • Plutella xylostella
  • Sex
  • Z chromosome

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