Change of the heterogametic sex from male to female in the frog

Genetics. 2003 Jun;164(2):613-20. doi: 10.1093/genetics/164.2.613.


Two different types of sex chromosomes, XX/XY and ZZ/ZW, exist in the Japanese frog Rana rugosa. They are separated in two local forms that share a common origin in hybridization between the other two forms (West Japan and Kanto) with male heterogametic sex determination and homomorphic sex chromosomes. In this study, to find out how the different types of sex chromosomes differentiated, particularly the evolutionary reason for the heterogametic sex change from male to female, we performed artificial crossings between the West Japan and Kanto forms and mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene sequence analysis. The crossing results showed male bias using mother frogs with West Japan cytoplasm and female bias using those with Kanto cytoplasm. The mitochondrial genes of ZZ/ZW and XX/XY forms, respectively, were similar in sequence to those of the West Japan and Kanto forms. These results suggest that in the primary ZZ/ZW form, the West Japan strain was maternal and thus male bias was caused by the introgression of the Kanto strain while in the primary XX/XY form and vice versa. We therefore hypothesize that sex ratio bias according to the maternal origin of the hybrid population was a trigger for the sex chromosome differentiation and the change of heterogametic sex.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • DNA, Complementary / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Ranidae
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Sex Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • Sex Determination Analysis
  • Sex Determination Processes*
  • Sex Differentiation
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA, Complementary
  • RNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB075890
  • GENBANK/AB075891
  • GENBANK/AB075892
  • GENBANK/AB075893
  • GENBANK/AB075894
  • GENBANK/AB075895
  • GENBANK/AB075896
  • GENBANK/AB075897
  • GENBANK/AB075898