Origin of Amniote Sex Chromosomes: An Ancestral Super-Sex Chromosome, or Common Requirements? Academic Article uri icon


  • The diversity of sex chromosomes among amniotes is the product of independent evolution of different systems in different lineages, defined by novel sex-determining genes. Convergent evolution is very common, suggesting that some genes are particularly adept at taking on a sex-determining role. Comparative gene mapping, and more recently whole genome sequencing, have now turned up other surprising relationships; different regions of the amniote genome that have become sex determining in some taxa seem to share synteny, or share sequence, in others. Is this, after all, evidence that these regions were once linked in a super-sex chromosome that underwent multiple fission in different ways in different amniote lineages? Or does it signify that special properties of sex chromosomes (paucity of active genes, low recombination, epigenetic regulation to achieve dosage compensation) predispose particular chromosomes to a sex-determining role?

publication date

  • 2016