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Mech Dev. 2004 Jul;121(7-8):639-45.

A comparative view on sex determination in medaka.

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Physiological Chemistry I, Biocenter, Am Hubland, D-97074 W├╝rzburg, Germany.


In fish, an amazing variety of sex determination mechanisms are known, ranging from hermaphroditism to gonochorism and from environmental to genetic sex determination. This makes fish especially suited for studying sex determination from the evolutionary point of view. In several fish groups, different sex determination mechanisms are found in closely related species, and evolution of this process is still ongoing in recent organisms. The medaka (Oryzias latipes) has an XY-XX genetic sex determination system. The Y-chromosome in this species is at an early stage of evolution. The molecular differences between X and Y are only very subtle and the Y-specific segment is very small. The sex-determining region has accumulated duplicated sequences from elsewhere in the genome, leading to recombinational isolation. The region contains a candidate for the male sex-determining gene named dmrt1bY. This gene arose through duplication of an autosomal chromosome fragment of linkage group 9. While all other genes degenerated, dmrt1bY is the only functional gene in the Y-specific region. The duplication leading to dmrt1bY occurred recently during evolution of the genus Oryzias. This suggests that different genes might be the master sex-determining gene in other fish.

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