Supplementary Material for: Thermal Response of Epigenetic Genes Informs Turtle Sex Determination with and without Sex Chromosomes

Vertebrate sexual fate can be established by environmental cues (e.g., temperature-dependent sex determination, TSD) or by genetic content (genotypic sex determination, GSD). While methylation is implicated in TSD, the influence of broader epigenetic processes in sexual development remains obscure. Here, we investigated for the first time the embryonic gonadal expression of the genome-wide epigenetic machinery in turtles, including genes and noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) involved in DNA/histone acetylation, methylation, ubiquitination, phosphorylation, and RNAi. This machinery was active and differentially thermosensitive in TSD versus GSD (ZZ/ZW) turtles. Methylation and histone acetylation genes responded the strongest. The results suggest these working hypotheses: (i) TSD might be mediated by epigenetically controlled hormonal pathways (via acetylation, methylation, and ncRNAs), or by (ii) hormonally controlled epigenetic processes, and (iii) key epigenetic events prior to the canonical thermosensitive period may explain differences between TSD and GSD. Novel epigenetic candidate regulators other than methylation were identified, including previously unknown ncRNAs that could potentially mediate gonadogenesis. These findings illuminate the molecular ecology of reptilian sex determination and permitted hypothesis building to help guide future functional studies on the epigenetic transduction of external cues in TSD versus GSD systems.