Genetic conflict and sex chromosome evolution

Trends Ecol Evol. 2010 Apr;25(4):215-23. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.10.005. Epub 2009 Nov 26.


Chromosomal sex determination systems create the opportunity for the evolution of selfish genetic elements that increase the transmission of one sex chromosome at the expense of its homolog. Because such selfish elements on sex chromosomes can reduce fertility and distort the sex ratio of progeny, unlinked suppressors are expected to evolve, bringing different regions of the genome into conflict over the meiotic transmission of the sex chromosomes. Here we argue that recurrent genetic conflict over sex chromosome transmission is an important evolutionary force that has shaped a wide range of seemingly disparate phenomena including the epigenetic regulation of genes expressed in the germline, the distribution of genes in the genome, and the evolution of hybrid sterility between species.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Female
  • Genes
  • Genomics
  • Male
  • Meiosis
  • Reproduction / genetics
  • Sex Differentiation / genetics*
  • Sex Ratio
  • X Chromosome*
  • Y Chromosome*