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Genetics. May 1987; 116(1): 161–167.
PMCID: PMC1203114

Genetic Hitchhiking and the Evolution of Reduced Genetic Activity of the Y Sex Chromosome


A new model for the evolution of reduced genetic activity of the Y sex chromosome is described. The model is based on the process of genetic hitchhiking. It is shown that the Y chromosome can gradually lose its genetic activity due to the fixation of deleterious mutations that are linked with other beneficial genes. Fixation of deleterious Y-linked mutations generates locus-specific selection for dosage tolerance and/or compensation. The hitchhiking effect is most pronounced when operating in combination with an alternative model, Muller's ratchet. It is shown, however, that the genetic hitchhiking mechanism can operate under conditions where Muller's ratchet is ineffective.

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Selected References

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