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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Sep 3;99(18):11778-83. Epub 2002 Aug 22.

A duplicated copy of DMRT1 in the sex-determining region of the Y chromosome of the medaka, Oryzias latipes.

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  • 1Institute for Human Genetics, Biocenter, University of Würzburg, D-97074 Würzburg, Germany.


The genes that determine the development of the male or female sex are known in Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila, and most mammals. In many other organisms the existence of sex-determining factors has been shown by genetic evidence but the genes are unknown. We have found that in the fish medaka the Y chromosome-specific region spans only about 280 kb. It contains a duplicated copy of the autosomal DMRT1 gene, named DMRT1Y. This is the only functional gene in this chromosome segment and maps precisely to the male sex-determining locus. The gene is expressed during male embryonic and larval development and in the Sertoli cells of the adult testes. These features make DMRT1Y a candidate for the medaka male sex-determining gene.

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