Plant sex chromosome evolution

J Exp Bot. 2013 Jan;64(2):405-20. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers322. Epub 2012 Nov 3.


It is now well established that plants have an important place in studies of sex chromosome evolution because of the repeated independent evolution of separate sexes and sex chromosomes. There has been considerable recent progress in studying plant sex chromosomes. In this review, I focus on how these recent studies have helped clarify or answer several important questions about sex chromosome evolution, and I shall also try to clarify some common misconceptions. I also outline future work that will be needed to make further progress, including testing some important ideas by genetic, molecular, and developmental approaches. Systems with different ages can clearly help show the time course of events during changes from an ancestral co-sexual state (hermaphroditism or monoecy), and I will also explain how different questions can be studied in lineages whose dioecy or sex chromosomes evolved at different times in the past.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Plants / genetics*
  • Sex Chromosomes / genetics*