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Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Mar;15(2):79-83.

X chromosomes, retrogenes and their role in male reproduction.

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  • 1Department of Animal Biology, University of Pennsylvania, School of Veterinary Medicine, 3800 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Retrogenes originate from their progenitor genes by retroposition. Several retrogenes reported in recent studies are autosomal, originating from X-linked progenitor genes, and have evolved a testis-specific expression pattern. During male meiosis, sex chromosomes are segregated into a so-called 'XY' body and are silenced transcriptionally. It has been widely hypothesized that the silencing of the X chromosome during male meiosis is the driving force behind the retroposition of X-linked genes to autosomes during evolution. With the advent of sequenced genomes of many species, many retrogenes can be identified and characterized. The testis-specific retrogenes might be associated with human male infertility. My goal here is to integrate recent findings, highlight controversies in the field and identify areas for further study.

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