Special Reviews

The Evolutionary Dynamics of Sex Determination

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Science  25 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5385, pp. 1990-1994
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5385.1990

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There is substantial cytogenetic data indicating that the process of sex determination can evolve relatively rapidly. However, recent molecular studies on the evolution of the regulatory genes that control sex determination in the insect Drosophila melanogaster, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and mammals suggest that, although certain sex determination regulatory genes have evolved relatively rapidly, other sex determination regulatory genes are quite conserved. Thus, studies of the evolution of sex determination, a process that appears to have elements that undergo substantial evolutionary change and others that may be conserved, could provide substantial insights into the kinds of forces that both drive and constrain the evolution of developmental hierarchies.

  • * Present address: Departamento de Genética and Instituto Cavanilles de Biodiversidad y Biologı́a Evolutiva, Universidad de Valencia, Burjassot 46100, Valencia, Spain.

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