Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
BMC Biol. 2007 Sep 20;5:40.

Faced with inequality: chicken do not have a general dosage compensation of sex-linked genes.

Author information

  • 1Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden. Hans.Ellegren@ebc.uu.se

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The contrasting dose of sex chromosomes in males and females potentially introduces a large-scale imbalance in levels of gene expression between sexes, and between sex chromosomes and autosomes. In many organisms, dosage compensation has thus evolved to equalize sex-linked gene expression in males and females. In mammals this is achieved by X chromosome inactivation and in flies and worms by up- or down-regulation of X-linked expression, respectively. While otherwise widespread in systems with heteromorphic sex chromosomes, the case of dosage compensation in birds (males ZZ, females ZW) remains an unsolved enigma.

RESULTS:

Here, we use a microarray approach to show that male chicken embryos generally express higher levels of Z-linked genes than female birds, both in soma and in gonads. The distribution of male-to-female fold-change values for Z chromosome genes is wide and has a mean of 1.4-1.6, which is consistent with absence of dosage compensation and sex-specific feedback regulation of gene expression at individual loci. Intriguingly, without global dosage compensation, the female chicken has significantly lower expression levels of Z-linked compared to autosomal genes, which is not the case in male birds.

CONCLUSION:

The pronounced sex difference in gene expression is likely to contribute to sexual dimorphism among birds, and potentially has implication to avian sex determination. Importantly, this report, together with a recent study of sex-biased expression in somatic tissue of chicken, demonstrates the first example of an organism with a lack of global dosage compensation, providing an unexpected case of a viable system with large-scale imbalance in gene expression between sexes.

PMID:
17883843
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2099419
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (4)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk