Different origins of ZZ/ZW sex chromosomes in closely related medaka fishes, Oryzias javanicus and O. hubbsi

Chromosome Res. 2008;16(5):801-11. doi: 10.1007/s10577-008-1227-5. Epub 2008 Jul 7.


Although the sex-determining gene DMY has been identified on the Y chromosome in the medaka, Oryzias latipes, this gene is absent in most Oryzias species. Recent comparative studies have demonstrated that, in the javanicus species group, Oryzias dancena and Oryzias minutillus have an XX/XY sex determination system, while Oryzias hubbsi has a ZZ/ZW system. Furthermore, sex chromosomes were not homologous in these species. Here, we investigated the sex determination mechanism in Oryzias javanicus, another species in the javanicus group. Linkage analysis of isolated sex-linked DNA markers showed that this species has a ZZ/ZW sex determination system. The sex-linkage map showed a conserved synteny to the linkage group 16 of O. latipes, suggesting that the sex chromosomes in O. javanicus are not homologous to those in any other Oryzias species. Fluorescence in-situ hybridization analysis confirmed that the ZW sex chromosomes of O. javanicus and O. hubbsi are not homologous, and showed that O. javanicus has the morphologically heteromorphic sex chromosomes, in which the W chromosome has 4,6-diamino-2-phenylindole-positive heterochromatin at the centromere. These findings suggest the repeated evolution of new sex chromosomes from autosomes in Oryzias, probably through the emergence of new sex-determining genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genetic Markers
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Oryzias / genetics*
  • Sex Chromosomes*
  • Sex Determination Processes*


  • Genetic Markers