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Evolutionary biologists glimpse early stages of Y-chromosome degeneration
Date:5/13/2014

ene function, the accumulation of mutations, and other harmful changes on the sex chromosomes.

Suppressed recombination between X and Y chromosomes occurred much more recently in plants than in animals, so the scientists were able to get a unique glimpse of what happens during the very earliest stages of Y-chromosome degeneration.

"In addition to being much younger than in animals, the sex chromosomes in Rumex hastatulus are particularly interesting because of the recent emergence of a new sex chromosome system, in which some males carry a second, even younger, Y chromosome," says Hough. "This allowed us to compare the two Y chromosomes and assess the time scales over which genes are deteriorating."

"The genes on the second Y chromosome are very new arrivals, having arisen within a single species", says EEB professor Stephen Wright, another investigator on the study. "This gave us a key time point to understand the chronology of Y-chromosome evolution. Remarkably, even these genes were already showing early signs of degeneration."


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Contact: Sean Bettam
s.bettam@utoronto.ca
416-946-7950
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

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