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Mol Biol Evol. 2000 Dec;17(12):1826-32.

Rooting a phylogeny with homologous genes on opposite sex chromosomes (gametologs): a case study using avian CHD.

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Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, USA.


We describe a previously unrecognized form of gene homology using the term "gametology," which we define as homology arising through lack of recombination and subsequent differentiation of sex chromosomes. We demonstrate use of gametologous genes to root each other in phylogenetic analyses of sex-specific avian Chromo-helicase-DNA binding gene (CHD) sequences. Phylogenetic analyses of a set of neognath bird sequences yield monophyletic groups for CHD-W and CHD-Z gametologs, as well as congruent relationships between these two clades and between them and current views of avian taxonomy. Phylogenetic analyses including paleognath bird CHD sequences and rooting with crocodilian CHD sequences, suggest an early divergence for paleognath CHD within the avian CHD clade. Based on our CHD analyses calibrated with avian fossil dates, we estimate the divergence between CHD-W and CHD-Z at 123 MYA, suggesting an early differentiation of sex chromosomes that predates most extant avian orders. In agreement with the notion of male-driven evolution, we find a faster rate of change in male-linked CHD-Z sequences.

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