Sex chromosome specialization and degeneration in mammals

Cell. 2006 Mar 10;124(5):901-14. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2006.02.024.


Sex chromosomes--particularly the human Y--have been a source of fascination for decades because of their unique transmission patterns and their peculiar cytology. The outpouring of genomic data confirms that their atypical structure and gene composition break the rules of genome organization, function, and evolution. The X has been shaped by dosage differences to have a biased gene content and to be subject to inactivation in females. The Y chromosome seems to be a product of a perverse evolutionary process that does not select the fittest Y, which may cause its degradation and ultimate extinction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mammals / genetics*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Sex Chromosomes* / chemistry
  • Sex Chromosomes* / genetics
  • Sex Chromosomes* / physiology
  • X Chromosome Inactivation