DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evae046 ISSN: 1759-6653

Where are the formerly Y-linked genes in the Ryukyu spiny rat that has lost its Y chromosome?

Jiachen Li, Siliang Song, Jianzhi Zhang
  • Genetics
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


It has been predicted that the highly degenerate mammalian Y chromosome will be lost eventually. Indeed, Y was lost in the Ryukyu spiny rat Tokudaia osimensis, but the fate of the formerly Y-linked genes is not completely known. We looked for all 12 ancestrally Y-linked genes in a draft T. osimensis genome sequence. Zfy1, Zfy2, Kdm5d, Eif2s3y, Usp9y, Uty, and Ddx3y are putatively functional and are now located on the X chromosome, whereas Rbmy, Uba1y, Ssty1, Ssty2, and Sry are missing or pseudogenized. Tissue expressions of the mouse orthologs of the retained genes are significantly broader/higher than those of the lost genes, suggesting that the destinies of the formerly Y-linked genes are related to their original expressions. Interestingly, patterns of gene retention/loss are significantly more similar than by chance across four rodent lineages where Y has been independently lost, indicating a level of certainty in the fate of Y-linked genes even when the chromosome is gone.

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