July 7, 2019  |  

Comparative Analysis of the Shared Sex-Determination Region (SDR) among Salmonid Fishes.

Salmonids present an excellent model for studying evolution of young sex-chromosomes. Within the genus, Oncorhynchus, at least six independent sex-chromosome pairs have evolved, many unique to individual species. This variation results from the movement of the sex-determining gene, sdY, throughout the salmonid genome. While sdY is known to define sexual differentiation in salmonids, the mechanism of its movement throughout the genome has remained elusive due to high frequencies of repetitive elements, rDNA sequences, and transposons surrounding the sex-determining regions (SDR). Despite these difficulties, bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library clones from both rainbow trout and Atlantic salmon containing the sdY region have been reported. Here, we report the sequences for these BACs as well as the extended sequence for the known SDR in Chinook gained through genome walking methods. Comparative analysis allowed us to study the overlapping SDRs from three unique salmonid Y chromosomes to define the specific content, size, and variation present between the species. We found approximately 4.1 kb of orthologous sequence common to all three species, which contains the genetic content necessary for masculinization. The regions contain transposable elements that may be responsible for the translocations of the SDR throughout salmonid genomes and we examine potential mechanistic roles of each one. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.


July 7, 2019  |  

Insights into sex chromosome evolution and aging from the genome of a short-lived fish.

The killifish Nothobranchius furzeri is the shortest-lived vertebrate that can be bred in the laboratory. Its rapid growth, early sexual maturation, fast aging, and arrested embryonic development (diapause) make it an attractive model organism in biomedical research. Here, we report a draft sequence of its genome that allowed us to uncover an intra-species Y chromosome polymorphism representing-in real time-different stages of sex chromosome formation that display features of early mammalian XY evolution “in action.” Our data suggest that gdf6Y, encoding a TGF-ß family growth factor, is the master sex-determining gene in N. furzeri. Moreover, we observed genomic clustering of aging-related genes, identified genes under positive selection, and revealed significant similarities of gene expression profiles between diapause and aging, particularly for genes controlling cell cycle and translation. The annotated genome sequence is provided as an online resource (http://www.nothobranchius.info/NFINgb). Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

Insights into the preservation of the homomorphic sex-determining chromosome of Aedes aegypti from the discovery of a male-biased gene tightly linked to the M-locus.

The preservation of a homomorphic sex-determining chromosome in some organisms without transformation into a heteromorphic sex chromosome is a long-standing enigma in evolutionary biology. A dominant sex-determining locus (or M-locus) in an undifferentiated homomorphic chromosome confers the male phenotype in the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti. Genetic evidence suggests that the M-locus is in a nonrecombining region. However, the molecular nature of the M-locus has not been characterized. Using a recently developed approach based on Illumina sequencing of male and female genomic DNA, we identified a novel gene, myo-sex, that is present almost exclusively in the male genome but can sporadically be found in the female genome due to recombination. For simplicity, we define sequences that are primarily found in the male genome as male-biased. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) on A. aegypti chromosomes demonstrated that the myo-sex probe localized to region 1q21, the established location of the M-locus. Myo-sex is a duplicated myosin heavy chain gene that is highly expressed in the pupa and adult male. Myo-sex shares 83% nucleotide identity and 97% amino acid identity with its closest autosomal paralog, consistent with ancient duplication followed by strong purifying selection. Compared with males, myo-sex is expressed at very low levels in the females that acquired it, indicating that myo-sex may be sexually antagonistic. This study establishes a framework to discover male-biased sequences within a homomorphic sex-determining chromosome and offers new insights into the evolutionary forces that have impeded the expansion of the nonrecombining M-locus in A. aegypti.


July 7, 2019  |  

Pseudoautosomal region 1 length polymorphism in the human population.

The human sex chromosomes differ in sequence, except for the pseudoautosomal regions (PAR) at the terminus of the short and the long arms, denoted as PAR1 and PAR2. The boundary between PAR1 and the unique X and Y sequences was established during the divergence of the great apes. During a copy number variation screen, we noted a paternally inherited chromosome X duplication in 15 independent families. Subsequent genomic analysis demonstrated that an insertional translocation of X chromosomal sequence into theMa Y chromosome generates an extended PAR. The insertion is generated by non-allelic homologous recombination between a 548 bp LTR6B repeat within the Y chromosome PAR1 and a second LTR6B repeat located 105 kb from the PAR boundary on the X chromosome. The identification of the reciprocal deletion on the X chromosome in one family and the occurrence of the variant in different chromosome Y haplogroups demonstrate this is a recurrent genomic rearrangement in the human population. This finding represents a novel mechanism shaping sex chromosomal evolution.


July 7, 2019  |  

Co-option of Sox3 as the male-determining factor on the Y chromosome in the fish Oryzias dancena.

Sex chromosomes harbour a primary sex-determining signal that triggers sexual development of the organism. However, diverse sex chromosome systems have been evolved in vertebrates. Here we use positional cloning to identify the sex-determining locus of a medaka-related fish, Oryzias dancena, and find that the locus on the Y chromosome contains a cis-regulatory element that upregulates neighbouring Sox3 expression in developing gonad. Sex-reversed phenotypes in Sox3(Y) transgenic fish, and Sox3(Y) loss-of-function mutants all point to its critical role in sex determination. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Sox3 initiates testicular differentiation by upregulating expression of downstream Gsdf, which is highly conserved in fish sex differentiation pathways. Our results not only provide strong evidence for the independent recruitment of Sox3 to male determination in distantly related vertebrates, but also provide direct evidence that a novel sex determination pathway has evolved through co-option of a transcriptional regulator potentially interacted with a conserved downstream component.


July 7, 2019  |  

Evolutionary strata on young mating-type chromosomes despite the lack of sexual antagonism.

Sex chromosomes can display successive steps of recombination suppression known as “evolutionary strata,” which are thought to result from the successive linkage of sexually antagonistic genes to sex-determining genes. However, there is little evidence to support this explanation. Here we investigate whether evolutionary strata can evolve without sexual antagonism using fungi that display suppressed recombination extending beyond loci determining mating compatibility despite lack of male/female roles associated with their mating types. By comparing full-length chromosome assemblies from five anther-smut fungi with or without recombination suppression in their mating-type chromosomes, we inferred the ancestral gene order and derived chromosomal arrangements in this group. This approach shed light on the chromosomal fusion underlying the linkage of mating-type loci in fungi and provided evidence for multiple clearly resolved evolutionary strata over a range of ages (0.9-2.1 million years) in mating-type chromosomes. Several evolutionary strata did not include genes involved in mating-type determination. The existence of strata devoid of mating-type genes, despite the lack of sexual antagonism, calls for a unified theory of sex-related chromosome evolution, incorporating, for example, the influence of partially linked deleterious mutations and the maintenance of neutral rearrangement polymorphism due to balancing selection on sexes and mating types.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic structure and evolution of the mating type locus in the green seaweed Ulva partita.

The evolution of sex chromosomes and mating loci in organisms with UV systems of sex/mating type determination in haploid phases via genes on UV chromosomes is not well understood. We report the structure of the mating type (MT) locus and its evolutionary history in the green seaweed Ulva partita, which is a multicellular organism with an isomorphic haploid-diploid life cycle and mating type determination in the haploid phase. Comprehensive comparison of a total of 12.0 and 16.6?Gb of genomic next-generation sequencing data for mt(-) and mt(+) strains identified highly rearranged MT loci of 1.0 and 1.5?Mb in size and containing 46 and 67 genes, respectively, including 23 gametologs. Molecular evolutionary analyses suggested that the MT loci diverged over a prolonged period in the individual mating types after their establishment in an ancestor. A gene encoding an RWP-RK domain-containing protein was found in the mt(-) MT locus but was not an ortholog of the chlorophycean mating type determination gene MID. Taken together, our results suggest that the genomic structure and its evolutionary history in the U. partita MT locus are similar to those on other UV chromosomes and that the MT locus genes are quite different from those of Chlorophyceae.


July 7, 2019  |  

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 are not simply remnants of genes originally present on the proto-sex-chromosome that escaped degeneration, but instead were recruited secondarily from autosomes. Despite almost no overlap in Y-linked gene content in different species with independently formed sex-chromosomes, we find that Y-linked genes have evolved convergent gene functions associated with testis expression. Thus, male-specific selection appears as a dominant force shaping gene-content evolution of Y-chromosomes across fly species.While X-chromosome gene content tends to be conserved, Y-chromosome evolution is dynamic and difficult to reconstruct. Here, Mahajan and Bachtrog use a subtraction pipeline to identify Y-linked genes in 22 Diptera species, revealing patterns of Y-chromosome gene-content evolution.


July 7, 2019  |  

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 and not the cause of the suppression. To our knowledge, this is the first time that non-recombining, genic regions as large as 86% of a full chromosome (or 8?Mbp), are shown to be collinear. These findings are of significant interest for our understanding of the evolution of sex chromosomes and other supergene complexes.


July 7, 2019  |  

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 that deletion of this entire region results in a male-to-female conversion, whereas loss of a single suppressor of female development drives male-to-hermaphrodite conversion. A single copy anther-specific gene with a male sterile Arabidopsis knockout phenotype is also in the Y-specific region, supporting a two-gene model for sex chromosome evolution.


July 7, 2019  |  

Genomic dark matter illuminated: Anopheles Y chromosomes.

Hall et al. have strategically used long-read sequencing technology to characterize the structure and highly repetitive content of the Y chromosome in Anopheles malaria mosquitoes. Their work confirms that this important but elusive heterochromatic sex chromosome is evolving extremely rapidly and harbors a remarkably small number of genes. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


July 7, 2019  |  

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 has been identified and found to be the second after telomeric repeat (TTAGGG)n most abundant in the chicken genome. Furthermore, (GGAAA)n repeat forms expanded arrays on the both arms of the chicken W chromosome. Our results highlight the complexity of repetitive sequences and update data about organization of sex W chromosome in chicken.


July 7, 2019  |  

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 this extension is recombinationally active. Here, we sought direct proof by examining thousands of gametes from each of two ePAR-carrying men, for two subregions chosen on the basis of previously published male X-chromosomal meiotic double-strand break (DSB) maps. Crossover activity comparable to that seen at autosomal hotspots was observed between the X and the ePAR borne on the Y chromosome both at a distal and a proximal site within the 110-kb extension. Other hallmarks of classic recombination hotspots included evidence of transmission distortion and GC-biased gene conversion. We observed good correspondence between the male DSB clusters and historical recombination activity of this region in the X chromosomes of females, as ascertained from linkage disequilibrium analysis; this suggests that this region is similarly primed for crossover in both male and female germlines, although sex-specific differences may also exist. Extensive resequencing and inference of ePAR haplotypes, placed in the framework of the Y phylogeny as ascertained by both Y microsatellites and single nucleotide polymorphisms, allowed us to estimate a minimum rate of crossover over the entire ePAR region of 6-fold greater than genome average, comparable with pedigree estimates of PAR1 activity generally. We conclude ePAR very likely contributes to the critical crossover function of PAR1.


July 7, 2019  |  

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 to assess the frequency and causes of this phenomenon we searched for Y chromosome incorporations in 400 species from Drosophila and related genera. We found one additional large scale event of Y chromosome incorporation, affecting the whole montium subgroup (40 species in our sample); overall 13% of the sampled species (52/400) have Y incorporations. While previous data indicated that after the Y incorporation the ancestral Y disappeared as a free chromosome, the much larger data set analyzed here indicates that a copy of the Y survived as a free chromosome both in montium and pseudoobscura species, and that the current Y of the pseudoobscura lineage results from a fusion between this free Y and the neoY. The 400 species sample also showed that the previously suggested causal connection between X-autosome fusions and Y incorporations is, at best, weak: the new case of Y incorporation (montium) does not have X-autosome fusion, whereas nine independent cases of X-autosome fusions were not followed by Y incorporations. Y incorporation is an underappreciated mechanism affecting Y chromosome evolution; our results show that at least in Drosophila it plays a relevant role and highlight the need of similar studies in other groups.


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