Identification of ancestral sex chromosomes in the frog Glandirana rugosa bearing XX-XY and ZZ-ZW sex-determining systems

Mol Ecol. 2022 Jul;31(14):3859-3870. doi: 10.1111/mec.16551. Epub 2022 Jun 12.


Sex chromosomes constantly exist in a dynamic state of evolution: rapid turnover and change of heterogametic sex during homomorphic state, and often stepping out to a heteromorphic state followed by chromosomal decaying. However, the forces driving these different trajectories of sex chromosome evolution are still unclear. The Japanese frog Glandirana rugosa is one taxon well suited to the study on these driving forces. The species has two different heteromorphic sex chromosome systems, XX-XY and ZZ-ZW, which are separated in different geographic populations. Both XX-XY and ZZ-ZW sex chromosomes are represented by chromosome 7 (2n = 26). Phylogenetically, these two systems arose via hybridization between two ancestral lineages of West Japan and East Japan populations, of which sex chromosomes are homomorphic in both sexes and to date have not yet been identified. Identification of the sex chromosomes will give us important insight into the mechanisms of sex chromosome evolution in this species. Here, we used a high-throughput genomic approach to identify the homomorphic XX-XY sex chromosomes in both ancestral populations. Sex-linked DNA markers of West Japan were aligned to chromosome 1, whereas those of East Japan were aligned to chromosome 3. These results reveal that at least two turnovers across three different sex chromosomes 1, 3 and 7 occurred during evolution of this species. This finding raises the possibility that cohabitation of the two different sex chromosomes from ancestral lineages induced turnover to another new one in their hybrids, involving transition of heterogametic sex and evolution from homomorphy to heteromorphy.

Keywords: heterogametic sex; homomorphy; turnover.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura / genetics
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers
  • Male
  • Ranidae / genetics
  • Sex Chromosomes* / genetics
  • Sex Determination Processes* / genetics


  • Genetic Markers