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Nat Genet. 2001 Dec;29(4):453-8.

A 11.7-kb deletion triggers intersexuality and polledness in goats.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement et Biotechnologies, Département de Physiologie Animale INRA, Centre de Recherches de Jouy-en-Josas, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas, Paris, France.


Mammalian sex determination is governed by the presence of the sex determining region Y gene (SRY) on the Y chromosome. Familial cases of SRY-negative XX sex reversal are rare in humans, often hampering the discovery of new sex-determining genes. The mouse model is also insufficient to correctly apprehend the sex-determination cascade, as the human pathway is much more sensitive to gene dosage. Other species might therefore be considered in this respect. In goats, the polled intersex syndrome (PIS) mutation associates polledness and intersexuality. The sex reversal affects exclusively the XX individuals in a recessive manner, whereas the absence of horns is dominant in both sexes. The syndrome is caused by an autosomal gene located at chromosome band 1q43 (ref. 9), shown to be homologous to human chromosome band 3q23 (ref. 10). Through a positional cloning approach, we demonstrate that the mutation underlying PIS is the deletion of a critical 11.7-kb DNA element containing mainly repetitive sequences. This deletion affects the transcription of at least two genes: PISRT1, encoding a 1.5-kb mRNA devoid of open reading frame (ORF), and FOXL2, recently shown to be responsible for blepharophimosis ptosis epicanthus inversus syndrome (BPES) in humans. These two genes are located 20 and 200 kb telomeric from the deletion, respectively.

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