The vast majority of eukaryotic organisms reproduce sexually, yet the nature of the sexual system and the mechanism of sex determination often vary remarkably, even among closely related species. Some species of animals and plants change sex across their lifespan, some contain hermaphrodites as well as males and females, some determine sex with highly differentiated chromosomes, while others determine sex according to their environment. Testing evolutionary hypotheses regarding the causes and consequences of this diversity requires interspecific data placed in a phylogenetic context. Such comparative studies have been hampered by the lack of accessible data listing sexual systems and sex determination mechanisms across the eukaryotic tree of life. Here, we describe a database developed to facilitate access to sexual system and sex chromosome information, with data on sexual systems from 11,038 plant, 705 fish, 173 amphibian, 593 non-avian reptilian, 195 avian, 479 mammalian, and 11,556 invertebrate species.
The Tree of Sex Consortium, TreeOfSex in NESCent TraitDB http://purl.org/nescent/treeofsex (2014)
We would like to thank the following people for assistance with data collection: Gilad Berman, Marcus Campbell, Anna Johnson, Carlos Larrea, Angelica Lillico-Ouachour, Jason Rae, Nishant Singh, Kohta Yoshida, and Christie Ziegler. We thank Karen Cranston, Mercedes Gosby, Sandra Hall, and Daniel Leehr for developing TraitDB to allow user-designed queries of the database. We are grateful to the following experts in particular taxonomic groups who helped refine the database and/or provide additional data: Rafael Torres Colin, Chris Davies, Bryan Drew, Vladimir Gokhman, Favio Gonzalez, Claes Gustafsson, Peter Heenan, Norbert Holstein, Zhu Hua, Boris Igic, José Luis León de la Luz, Pedro Lorite, Timothy J. Motley, Roy Norton, Rafael Navajas Pérez, Susanne Renner, Jerzy Rzedowski, Stacey Smith, Valerie Souza, Robert Soreng, Daniel Thomas, Henk van der Werff, Amy Zanne. The database development was sponsored by NESCent as part of ‘The Tree of Sex’ working group (NSF EF-0905606). Funding was also provided by European Research Council Grant 260233 to J.M., National Science Foundation DEB-1020523 and -1241006 to T.-L.A., DEB-1120279 to E.E.G., and MCB-1244355 to N.V., NESCent visiting fellowship to H.B., Marie Curie Reintegration Grant CIG-293878 to I.M., MEXT Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas (23113007) to J.K., Natural Environment Research Council grant to L.R., and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery grants to S.P.O. and J.C.V.
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