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May 1, 2019

Early Sex-chromosome Evolution in the Diploid Dioecious Plant Mercurialis annua.

Suppressed recombination allows divergence between homologous sex chromosomes and the functionality of their genes. Here, we reveal patterns of the earliest stages of sex-chromosome evolution in the diploid dioecious herb Mercurialis annua on the basis of cytological analysis, de novo genome assembly and annotation, genetic mapping, exome resequencing of natural populations, and transcriptome analysis. The genome assembly contained 34,105 expressed genes, of which 10,076 were assigned to linkage groups. Genetic mapping and exome resequencing of individuals across the species range both identified the largest linkage group, LG1, as the sex chromosome. Although the sex chromosomes of M. annua are karyotypically…

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April 1, 2019

Construction of a Genomic Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) Library for the Prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii and Initial Analysis of ZW Chromosome-Derived BAC Inserts.

Knowledge on sex determination has proven valuable for commercial production of the prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii due to sex dimorphism of the male and female individuals. Previous studies indicated that prawn sex is determined by a ZW-ZZ chromosomal system, but no genomic information is available for the sex chromosome. Herein, we constructed a genomic bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library and identified the ZW-derived BAC clones for initial analysis of the sex chromosomal DNA sequence. The arrayed BAC library contains 200,448 clones with average insert size of 115.4 kb, corresponding to ~?4× coverage of the estimated 5.38 Gb genome. Based on a short female-specific…

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February 1, 2019

Maleness-on-the-Y (MoY) orchestrates male sex determination in major agricultural fruit fly pests

In insects, rapidly evolving primary sex-determining signals are transduced by a conserved regulatory module producing sex-specific proteins that direct sexual differentiation1-4. In the agricultural pest Ceratitis capitata (medfly), a Y-linked Maleness factor (M) is thought to repress the autoregulatory splicing of transformer (Cctra), which is required in XX individuals to establish and maintain female sex determination5,6. Despite the sequencing of the medfly genome, its M factor has remained elusive7. Here, we report the identification of a Y-linked gene, Maleness-on the-Y (MoY), and show that it encodes a small and novel protein which is both necessary and sufficient for medfly male…

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January 1, 2019

Heterochromatin-enriched assemblies reveal the sequence and organization of the Drosophila melanogaster Y chromosome.

Heterochromatic regions of the genome are repeat-rich and poor in protein coding genes, and are therefore underrepresented in even the best genome assemblies. One of the most difficult regions of the genome to assemble are sex-limited chromosomes. The Drosophila melanogaster Y chromosome is entirely heterochromatic, yet has wide-ranging effects on male fertility, fitness, and genome-wide gene expression. The genetic basis of this phenotypic variation is difficult to study, in part because we do not know the detailed organization of the Y chromosome. To study Y chromosome organization in D. melanogaster, we develop an assembly strategy involving the in silico enrichment…

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December 1, 2018

Recurrent gene amplification on Drosophila Y chromosomes suggests cryptic sex chromosome drive is common on young sex chromosomes

Theory predicts that selfish genetic elements that increase their transmission are prone to originate on sex chromosomes but create strong selective pressure to evolve suppressors due to reduced fertility and distorted population sex ratios. Here we show that recurrent genetic conflict over sex chromosome transmission appears to be an important evolutionary force that has shaped gene content evolution of sex chromosomes in Drosophila. We demonstrate that convergent acquisition and amplification of spermatid expressed gene families are common on Drosophila sex chromosomes, and especially on recently formed ones, and harbor characteristics typical of meiotic drivers. We carefully characterize one putative novel…

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December 1, 2018

Evolutionary conservation of Y Chromosome ampliconic gene families despite extensive structural variation.

Despite claims that the mammalian Y Chromosome is on a path to extinction, comparative sequence analysis of primate Y Chromosomes has shown the decay of the ancestral single-copy genes has all but ceased in this eutherian lineage. The suite of single-copy Y-linked genes is highly conserved among the majority of eutherian Y Chromosomes due to strong purifying selection to retain dosage-sensitive genes. In contrast, the ampliconic regions of the Y Chromosome, which contain testis-specific genes that encode the majority of the transcripts on eutherian Y Chromosomes, are rapidly evolving and are thought to undergo species-specific turnover. However, ampliconic genes are…

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November 1, 2018

An investigation of Y chromosome incorporations in 400 species of Drosophila and related genera.

Y chromosomes are widely believed to evolve from a normal autosome through a process of massive gene loss (with preservation of some male genes), shaped by sex-antagonistic selection and complemented by occasional gains of male-related genes. The net result of these processes is a male-specialized chromosome. This might be expected to be an irreversible process, but it was found in 2005 that the Drosophila pseudoobscura Y chromosome was incorporated into an autosome. Y chromosome incorporations have important consequences: a formerly male-restricted chromosome reverts to autosomal inheritance, and the species may shift from an XY/XX to X0/XX sex-chromosome system. In order…

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October 1, 2018

Recombination hotspots in an extended human pseudoautosomal domain predicted from double-strand break maps and characterized by sperm-based crossover analysis.

The human X and Y chromosomes are heteromorphic but share a region of homology at the tips of their short arms, pseudoautosomal region 1 (PAR1), that supports obligate crossover in male meiosis. Although the boundary between pseudoautosomal and sex-specific DNA has traditionally been regarded as conserved among primates, it was recently discovered that the boundary position varies among human males, due to a translocation of ~110 kb from the X to the Y chromosome that creates an extended PAR1 (ePAR). This event has occurred at least twice in human evolution. So far, only limited evidence has been presented to suggest…

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September 1, 2018

Genomic imprinting mediates dosage compensation in a young plant XY system.

Sex chromosomes have repeatedly evolved from a pair of autosomes. Consequently, X and Y chromosomes initially have similar gene content, but ongoing Y degeneration leads to reduced expression and eventual loss of Y genes1. The resulting imbalance in gene expression between Y genes and the rest of the genome is expected to reduce male fitness, especially when protein networks have components from both autosomes and sex chromosomes. A diverse set of dosage compensating mechanisms that alleviates these negative effects has been described in animals2-4. However, the early steps in the evolution of dosage compensation remain unknown, and dosage compensation is…

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May 24, 2018

The African Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) genome unites the two ancestral ingredients for making vertebrate sex chromosomes

Heteromorphic sex chromosomes have evolved repeatedly among vertebrate lineages despite largely deleterious reductions in gene dose. Understanding how this gene dose problem is overcome is hampered by the lack of genomic information at the base of tetrapods and comparisons across the evolutionary history of vertebrates. To address this problem, we produced a chromosome-level genome assembly for the African Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus)--an amphibian with heteromorphic ZW sex chromosomes--and discovered that the Bullfrog Z is surprisingly homologous to substantial portions of the human X. Using this new reference genome, we identified ancestral synteny among the sex chromosomes of major vertebrate lineages, showing…

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March 1, 2018

New high copy tandem repeat in the content of the chicken W chromosome.

The content of repetitive DNA in avian genomes is considerably less than in other investigated vertebrates. The first descriptions of tandem repeats were based on the results of routine biochemical and molecular biological experiments. Both satellite DNA and interspersed repetitive elements were annotated using library-based approach and de novo repeat identification in assembled genome. The development of deep-sequencing methods provides datasets of high quality without preassembly allowing one to annotate repetitive elements from unassembled part of genomes. In this work, we search the chicken assembly and annotate high copy number tandem repeats from unassembled short raw reads. Tandem repeat (GGAAA)n…

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January 1, 2018

A new standard for crustacean genomes: The highly contiguous, annotated genome assembly of the clam shrimp Eulimnadia texana reveals HOX gene order and identifies the sex chromosome.

Vernal pool clam shrimp (Eulimnadia texana) are a promising model system due to their ease of lab culture, short generation time, modest sized genome, a somewhat rare stable androdioecious sex determination system, and a requirement to reproduce via desiccated diapaused eggs. We generated a highly contiguous genome assembly using 46× of PacBio long read data and 216× of Illumina short reads, and annotated using Illumina RNAseq obtained from adult males or hermaphrodites. Of the 120?Mb genome 85% is contained in the largest eight contigs, the smallest of which is 4.6?Mb. The assembly contains 98% of transcripts predicted via RNAseq. This…

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November 2, 2017

The asparagus genome sheds light on the origin and evolution of a young Y chromosome.

Sex chromosomes evolved from autosomes many times across the eukaryote phylogeny. Several models have been proposed to explain this transition, some involving male and female sterility mutations linked in a region of suppressed recombination between X and Y (or Z/W, U/V) chromosomes. Comparative and experimental analysis of a reference genome assembly for a double haploid YY male garden asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) individual implicates separate but linked genes as responsible for sex determination. Dioecy has evolved recently within Asparagus and sex chromosomes are cytogenetically identical with the Y, harboring a megabase segment that is missing from the X. We show…

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October 26, 2017

Large-scale suppression of recombination predates genomic rearrangements in Neurospora tetrasperma.

A common feature of eukaryote genomes is large chromosomal regions where recombination is absent or strongly reduced, but the factors that cause this reduction are not well understood. Genomic rearrangements have often been implicated, but they may also be a consequence of recombination suppression rather than a cause. In this study, we generate eight high-quality genomic data sets of the filamentous ascomycete Neurospora tetrasperma, a fungus that lacks recombination over most of its largest chromosome. The genomes surprisingly reveal collinearity of the non-recombining regions and although large inversions are enriched in these regions, we conclude these inversions to be derived…

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October 4, 2017

Convergent evolution of Y chromosome gene content in flies.

Sex-chromosomes have formed repeatedly across Diptera from ordinary autosomes, and X-chromosomes mostly conserve their ancestral genes. Y-chromosomes are characterized by abundant gene-loss and an accumulation of repetitive DNA, yet the nature of the gene repertoire of fly Y-chromosomes is largely unknown. Here we trace gene-content evolution of Y-chromosomes across 22 Diptera species, using a subtraction pipeline that infers Y genes from male and female genome, and transcriptome data. Few genes remain on old Y-chromosomes, but the number of inferred Y-genes varies substantially between species. Young Y-chromosomes still show clear evidence of their autosomal origins, but most genes on old Y-chromosomes…

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