Evolution on the X chromosome: unusual patterns and processes

Nat Rev Genet. 2006 Aug;7(8):645-53. doi: 10.1038/nrg1914.


Although the X chromosome is usually similar to the autosomes in size and cytogenetic appearance, theoretical models predict that its hemizygosity in males may cause unusual patterns of evolution. The sequencing of several genomes has indeed revealed differences between the X chromosome and the autosomes in the rates of gene divergence, patterns of gene expression and rates of gene movement between chromosomes. A better understanding of these patterns should provide valuable information on the evolution of genes located on the X chromosome. It could also suggest solutions to more general problems in molecular evolution, such as detecting selection and estimating mutational effects on fitness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Diseases, X-Linked / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • X Chromosome / genetics*