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Plant J. 2010 Sep;63(5):801-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04284.x.

The origin of the non-recombining region of sex chromosomes in Carica and Vasconcellea.

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1
Program in Physiological and Molecular Plant Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 16801, USA.

Abstract

Carica and Vasconcellea are two closely related sister genera in the family Caricaceae, and were once classified as two sections under Carica. Sex chromosomes have been found in papaya and originated approximately 2-3 million years ago. The objectives of this study were to determine whether sex chromosomes have evolved in Vasconcellea. Six X/Y gene pairs were cloned, sequenced and analyzed from three dioecious, one trioecious and one monoecious species of Vasconcellea. The isolation of distinctive X and Y alleles in dioecious and trioecious species of Vasconcellea demonstrated that sex chromosomes have evolved in this genus. Phylogenetic analyses indicated a monophyletic relationship between the X/Y alleles of Carica and those of Vasconcellea. Distinctive clusters of X/Y alleles were documented in V. parviflora and V. pulchra for all available gene sequences, and in V. goudatinana and V. cardinamarcensis for some X/Y alleles. The X and Y alleles within each species shared most single nucleotide polymorphism haplotypes that differed from other species. Limited evidence of gene conversion was documented among the X/Y alleles of some species, but was not sufficient to cause the evolutionary patterns reported herein. The Carica and Vasconcellea sex chromosomes may have originated from the same autosomes bearing the X allelic form that still exist in the monoecious species V. monoica, and have evolved independently after the speciation event that separated Carica from Vasconcellea. Within Vasconcellea, sex chromosomes have evolved at the species level, at least for some species.

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