September 22, 2019  |  

Sex chromosome evolution via two genes

Authors: Harkess, Alex and Huang, Kun and van der Hulst, Ron and Tissen, Bart and Caplan, Jeffrey L and Koppula, Aakash and Batish, Mona and Meyers, Blake C and Leebens-Mack, Jim

The origin of sex chromosomes has been hypothesized to involve the linkage of factors with antagonistic effects on male and female function. Garden asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.) is an ideal species to test this hypothesis, as the X and Y chromosomes are cytologically homomorphic and recently evolved from an ancestral autosome pair in association with a shift from hermaphroditism to dioecy. Mutagenesis screens paired with single-molecule fluorescence in situ hybridization (smFISH) directly implicate Y-specific genes that respectively suppress female organ development and are necessary for male gametophyte development. Comparison of contiguous X and Y chromosome shows that loss of recombination between the genes suppressing female function (SUPPRESSOR OF FEMALE FUNCTION, SOFF) and promoting male function (TAPETAL DEVELOPMENT AND FUNCTION 1, aspTDF1) is due to hemizygosity. We also experimentally demonstrate the function of aspTDF1. These finding provide direct evidence that sex chromosomes can evolve from autosomes via two sex determination genes: a dominant suppressor of femaleness and a promoter of maleness.

Journal: BioRxiv
DOI: 10.1101/494112
Year: 2018

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