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Evolution of diverse sex-determining mechanisms in mammals
Date:7/29/2013

ammalian evolution.

Research last year at MIT has shown that in humans and other primates the Y chromosome has been stable for at least the past 25 million years (Nature, Strict evolutionary conservation followed rapid gene loss on human and rhesus Y chromosomes), which Weiss suggests may reflect the absence of micro-satellite-related slippage in the Sry gene. Yet the transcriptional strengths of the murine and human Sry factors are similar. The research suggests that human SRY and its specification of male development has evolved to be just above a genetic threshold of activity, which may in turn enable human communities to benefit from a diversity of male characteristics and behaviors.

"A key lesson of this 20 million-year history is that maleness is a 'close call' as the Sry protein functions near the edge of ambiguity," Weiss explained. "We think that the 'genetic decision' in an embryo to create a testis (instead of an ovary) is tenuous in all social mammals, including us. The critical next question is why?"


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Contact: Amanda Petrak
amanda.petrak@case.edu
216-368-0345
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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