Gene content evolution on the X chromosome

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2008 Dec;18(6):493-8. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2008.09.006. Epub 2008 Oct 16.


Compared with autosomes, the X chromosome shows different patterns of evolution as a result of its hemizygosity in males. Additionally, inactivation of the X during spermatogenesis can make the X chromosome an unfavorable location for male-specific genes. These factors can help to explain why in many species gene content of the X chromosome differs from that of autosomes. Indeed, the X chromosome in mouse is enriched for male-specific genes while they are depleted on the X in Drosophila but show neither of these trends in mosquito. Here, we will discuss recent findings on the ancestral and neo-X chromosomes in Drosophila that support sexual antagonism as a force shaping gene content evolution of sex chromosomes and suggest that selection could be driving male-biased genes off the X.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genes / genetics*
  • Inheritance Patterns / genetics*
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Species Specificity
  • X Chromosome / genetics*