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, 72 (1), 61-6

Exclusion of SOX9 as the Testis Determining Factor in Ellobius Lutescens: Evidence for Another Testis Determining Gene Besides SRY and SOX9

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Exclusion of SOX9 as the Testis Determining Factor in Ellobius Lutescens: Evidence for Another Testis Determining Gene Besides SRY and SOX9

A Baumstark et al. Mol Genet Metab.

Abstract

In mammals the initiation of testis determination usually depends on the Y-chromosomal gene SRY. A few species, however, escape from this rule with a testis determination that is independent of SRY. The mole vole Ellobius lutescens is one of these species. It is not known how testis determination is initiated in this species but it has been suggested that a gene from the sex determination cascade usually acting downstream of SRY is mutated and has taken over the testis-determining function. At present SOX9 is the only candidate gene for which a testis-determining function in the absence of SRY has been observed. To test the hypothesis that testis differentiation in E. lutescens is initiated by SOX9, segregation analysis of SOX9 alleles was performed in an E. lutescens family. As there is no marker data available in this species we screened both Ellobius SOX9 introns for polymorphisms suitable for segregation studies. A biallelic polymorphism was found in the second intron of the SOX9 gene and analysis of this marker in the Ellobius family revealed an inheritance pattern completely independent of the sex of the animals. Thus, SOX9 can be excluded from being the testis-determining factor in E. lutescens. These results provide evidence for another possibly yet unknown gene besides SRY and SOX9 able to exert testis-determining function.

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