Origin and evolution of Y chromosomes: Drosophila tales

Trends Genet. 2009 Jun;25(6):270-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2009.04.002. Epub 2009 May 13.


Classically, Y chromosomes are thought to originate from X chromosomes through a process of degeneration and gene loss. Now, the availability of 12 Drosophila genomes provides an opportunity to study the origin and evolution of Y chromosomes in an informative phylogenetic context. Surprisingly, the majority of Drosophila Y-linked genes are recent acquisitions from autosomes and Y chromosome gene gains are more frequent than gene losses. Moreover, the Drosophila pseudoobscura Y chromosome lacks homology with the Y of most Drosophila species. Thus, the Drosophila Y has a different evolutionary history from canonical Y chromosomes (such as the mammalian Y) and it also might have a different origin.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Y Chromosome / genetics*