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Genetics. 2007 Dec;177(4):2075-81. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

Evidence for different origins of sex chromosomes in closely related Oryzias fishes: substitution of the master sex-determining gene.

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  • 1Niigata University, Japan. tanaka@shizenkagakukan.jp


The medaka Oryzias latipes and its two sister species, O. curvinotus and O. luzonensis, possess an XX-XY sex-determination system. The medaka sex-determining gene DMY has been identified on the orthologous Y chromosome [O. latipes linkage group 1 (LG1)] of O. curvinotus. However, DMY has not been discovered in other Oryzias species. These results and molecular phylogeny suggest that DMY was generated recently [approximately 10 million years ago (MYA)] by gene duplication of DMRT1 in a common ancestor of O. latipes and O. curvinotus. We identified seven sex-linked markers from O. luzonensis (sister species of O. curvinotus) and constructed a sex-linkage map. Surprisingly, all seven sex-linked markers were located on an autosomal linkage group (LG12) of O. latipes. As suggested by the phylogenetic tree, the sex chromosomes of O. luzonensis should be "younger" than those of O. latipes. In the lineage leading to O. luzonensis after separation from O. curvinotus approximately 5 MYA, a novel sex-determining gene may have arisen and substituted for DMY. Oryzias species should provide a useful model for evolution of the master sex-determining gene and differentiation of sex chromosomes from autosomes.

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