Degeneration of Y chromosomes is a common evolutionary path of XY sex chromosome systems. Recent genomic studies in flies and plants have revealed that even young neo-sex chromosomes with the age of a few million years show signs of Y degeneration, such as the accumulation of nonsense and frameshift mutations. However, it remains unclear whether neo-Y chromosomes also show rapid degeneration in fishes, which often have homomorphic sex chromosomes. Here, we investigated whether a neo-Y chromosome of Japan Sea stickleback (Gasterosteus nipponicus), which was formed by a Y-autosome fusion within the last 2 million years, accumulates deleterious mutations. Our previous genomic analyses did not detect excess nonsense and frameshift mutations on the Japan Sea stickleback neo-Y. In the present study, we found that the nonrecombining region of the neo-Y near the fusion end has accumulated nonsynonymous mutations altering amino acids of evolutionarily highly conserved residues. Enrichment of gene ontology terms related to protein phosphorylation and cellular protein modification process was found in the genes with potentially deleterious mutations on the neo-Y. These results suggest that the neo-Y of the Japan Sea stickleback has already accumulated mutations that may impair protein functions.
Keywords: fish; sex chromosome; stickleback.
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