Molecular characterization and evolution of X and Y-borne ATRX homologues in American marsupials Academic Article uri icon


  • In eutherians, the sex-reversing ATRX gene on the X has no homologue on the Y chromosome. However, testis-specific and ubiquitously expressed X-borne genes have been identified in Australian marsupials. We studied nucleotide sequence and chromosomal location of ATRX homologues in two American marsupials, the opossums Didelphis virginiana and Monodelphis domestica. A PCR fragment of M. domestica ATRX was used to probe Southern blots and to screen male genomic libraries. Southern analysis demonstrated ATRX homologues on both X and Y in D. virginiana, and two clones were isolated which hybridized to a single position on the Y chromosome in male-derived cells but to multiple sites of the X in female cells. In M. domestica, there was a single clone that mapped to the X but not to the Y, suggesting that it represents the M. domestica ATRX. However a male-specific band was detected in Southern blots probed with the D. virginiana ATRY and with a mouse ATRX clone, which implies that the Y copy in M. domestica has diverged further from other ATRX homologues. Thus there appears to be a Y-borne copy of ATRY in American, as well as Australian marsupials, although it has diverged in sequence, as have other Y genes that are testis-specific in both eutherian and marsupial lineages.


  • Carvalho-Silva, Denise R
  • O’Neill, Rachel JW
  • Brown, Judith D
  • Huynh, Kim
  • Waters, Paul D
  • Pask, Andrew J
  • Delbridge, Margaret L
  • Graves, Jennifer A Marshall

publication date

  • December 2004