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Nat Genet. 2004 Jun;36(6):642-6. Epub 2004 May 23.

The mouse X chromosome is enriched for sex-biased genes not subject to selection by meiotic sex chromosome inactivation.

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Genetics and Biochemistry Branch, NIDDK, National Institutes of Health, 5 Memorial Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Sex chromosomes are subject to sex-specific selective evolutionary forces. One model predicts that genes with sex-biased expression should be enriched on the X chromosome. In agreement with Rice's hypothesis, spermatogonial genes are over-represented on the X chromosome of mice and sex- and reproduction-related genes are over-represented on the human X chromosome. Male-biased genes are under-represented on the X chromosome in worms and flies, however. Here we show that mouse spermatogenesis genes are relatively under-represented on the X chromosome and female-biased genes are enriched on it. We used Spo11(-/-) mice blocked in spermatogenesis early in meiosis to evaluate the temporal pattern of gene expression in sperm development. Genes expressed before the Spo11 block are enriched on the X chromosome, whereas those expressed later in spermatogenesis are depleted. Inactivation of the X chromosome in male meiosis may be a universal driving force for X-chromosome demasculinization.

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