The evolutionary causes and consequences of sex-biased gene expression

Nat Rev Genet. 2013 Feb;14(2):83-7. doi: 10.1038/nrg3376.


Females and males often differ extensively in their physical traits. This sexual dimorphism is largely caused by differences in gene expression. Recent advances in genomics, such as RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), have revealed the nature and extent of sex-biased gene expression in diverse species. Here we highlight new findings regarding the causes of sex-biased expression, including sexual antagonism and incomplete dosage compensation. We also discuss how sex-biased expression can accelerate the evolution of sex-linked genes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Female
  • Gene Duplication
  • Gene Expression
  • Male
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sex Chromosomes / genetics