Chromosomes

Y genes find new chromosomal homes

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Science  19 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6241, pp. 1328
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6241.1328-b

A color-enhanced scanning electron micrograph of the human Y chromosome

PHOTO: BIOPHOTO ASSOCIATES/SCIENCE SOURCE

The mammalian Y chromosome has lost many genes throughout evolution. However, they are not lost for good, as Hughes et al. report. The authors found that in eight mammals, including humans, apes, rodents, cattle, and marsupials, four genes formerly found on the Y chromosome now reside on other, nonsex chromosomes. A handful of genes on the X chromosome met a similar fate. In some cases, the transposed genes acquired broad tissue expression, perhaps to maintain a gene dosage required for fitness. In other cases, the relocated genes were expressed specifically in the testes, pointing to newly acquired functions in spermatogenesis.

Genome Biol. 16, 104 (2015).

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