Why and how do Y chromosome stop recombining?

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Sex chromosomes either carry a factor like the male-determining factors of mammals (Berta et al., 1990) or the plant Silene latifolia (Westergaard, 1958), or function in balance sex-determining systems, as in Drosophila (Bridges, 1925) and Caenorhabditis elegans (Meyer, 2022). The sex chromosome pairs of these and several other species include physically extensive fully Y-linked, or male-specific, regions (“MSY”) that have undergone “genetic degeneration” and lost most of the genes that are carried on the X (X-linked genes are then hemizygous in males). Similar losses of recombination, and similar extensive degeneration, have occurred in the evolution of sex chromosomes in species with female heterogamety, including birds and Lepidoptera, respectively reviewed by Wang et al. (2014) and Fraisse et al. (2017). The lack of recombination is probably not a direct consequence of carrying the sex-determining genes, or of having an essential role in sex-determination, since several unrelated fish have physically small sex-determining regions located within recombining regions (Koyama et al., 2019, Reichwald et al., 2015, Nacif et al., 2022, Kuhl et al., 2021), and the completely sex-linked regions of some plants are smaller than 1 megabase (Akagi et al., 2014, Harkess et al., 2020). These situations can be explained in several ways, for example they could reflect recent evolution of separate sexes, or recent appearance of a sex-determining factor in a genome region in a so-called turnover event reviewed by (Vicoso, 2019).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Early online date22 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jan 2023


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