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BMC Genomics. 2008 Mar 31;9:148. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-9-148.

The unique genomic properties of sex-biased genes: insights from avian microarray data.

Author information

1
Department of Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden. judith.mank@ebc.uu.se

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In order to develop a framework for the analysis of sex-biased genes, we present a characterization of microarray data comparing male and female gene expression in 18 day chicken embryos for brain, gonad, and heart tissue.

RESULTS:

From the 15982 significantly expressed coding regions that have been assigned to either the autosomes or the Z chromosome (12979 in brain, 13301 in gonad, and 12372 in heart), roughly 18% were significantly sex-biased in any one tissue, though only 4 gene targets were biased in all tissues. The gonad was the most sex-biased tissue, followed by the brain. Sex-biased autosomal genes tended to be expressed at lower levels and in fewer tissues than unbiased gene targets, and autosomal somatic sex-biased genes had more expression noise than similar unbiased genes. Sex-biased genes linked to the Z-chromosome showed reduced expression in females, but not in males, when compared to unbiased Z-linked genes, and sex-biased Z-linked genes were also expressed in fewer tissues than unbiased Z coding regions. Third position GC content, and codon usage bias showed some sex-biased effects, primarily for autosomal genes expressed in the gonad. Finally, there were several over-represented Gene Ontology terms in the sex-biased gene sets.

CONCLUSION:

On the whole, this analysis suggests that sex-biased genes have unique genomic and organismal properties that delineate them from genes that are expressed equally in males and females.

PMID:
18377635
PMCID:
PMC2294128
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2164-9-148
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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