Dioecy is relatively rare in plants and sex determination systems vary among such species. A good example of a plant with heteromorphic sex chromosomes is hop (Humulus lupulus). The genotypes carrying XX or XY chromosomes correspond to female and male plants, respectively. Until now no clear cytogenetic markers for the sex chromosomes of hop have been established. Here, for the first time the sex chromosomes of hop are clearly identified and characterized. The high copy sequence of hop (HSR1) has been cloned and localized on chromosomes by fluorescence in situ hybridization. The HSR1 repeat has shown subtelomeric location on autosomes with the same intensity of the signal. The signal has been present in the subtelomeric region of the long arm and in the near-centromeric region but absent in the telomeric region of the short arm of the X chromosome. At the same time the signal has been found in the telomeric region only of the long arm of the Y chromosome. This finding indicates that the sex chromosomes of hop have evolved from a pair of autosomes via ancient translocation or inversion. The observation of the meiotic configuration of the sex bivalents shows the location of a pseudoautosomal region on the long arms of X and Y chromosomes.
Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.