Evolution of the Zfx and Zfy genes: rates and interdependence between the genes

Mol Biol Evol. 1993 Mar;10(2):271-81. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a040003.


A phylogenetic analysis of sex-chromosomal zinc-finger genes (Zfx and Zfy) indicates that the genes have not evolved completely independently since their initial separation. The sequence similarities suggest gene conversion in the last exon between the duplicated Y-chromosomal genes Zfy-1 and Zfy-2 in the mouse. There are also indications of conversion (or recombination) between the X- and Y-chromosomal genes in the crab-eating fox and in the mouse. The method for estimating synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions is modified by incorporating the substitutions in the twofold-degenerate sites in a novel way. The estimates of synonymous substitutions support the generation-time hypothesis in that the obtained rates are higher in mice (by a factor of 4.7) than in humans and higher in the Y-chromosomal genes (by a factor of 1.9) than in the X-chromosomal genes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Conversion
  • Genes*
  • Hominidae / genetics
  • Humans
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Mammals / genetics*
  • Mice / genetics
  • Phylogeny*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcription Factors
  • X Chromosome
  • Y Chromosome
  • Zinc Fingers / genetics*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • ZFY protein, human
  • Zfy1 protein, mouse
  • Zfy2 protein, mouse
  • zinc finger protein, X-linked