The human Y chromosome, in the light of evolution

Nat Rev Genet. 2001 Mar;2(3):207-16. doi: 10.1038/35056058.


Most eukaryotic chromosomes, akin to messy toolboxes, store jumbles of genes with diverse biological uses. The linkage of a gene to a particular chromosome therefore rarely hints strongly at that gene's function. One striking exception to this pattern of gene distribution is the human Y chromosome. Far from being random and diverse, known human Y-chromosome genes show just a few distinct expression profiles. Their relative functional conformity reflects evolutionary factors inherent to sex-specific chromosomes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amelogenin
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Dental Enamel Proteins / genetics
  • Genes, Homeobox / genetics
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics
  • Y Chromosome / classification
  • Y Chromosome / genetics*


  • Amelogenin
  • Dental Enamel Proteins