Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sex Talk Revelations Of The Lonely Y Chromosome: Communication Between Male And Female Occurs In Our Innermost Beings

Date:
September 14, 2009
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
New findings reveal for the first time that the male and female do truly communicate -- at least at the fundamental genetic level.

New findings from the University of Leicester Department of Genetics reveal for the first time that the male and female do truly communicate –at least at the fundamental genetic level.

The research counters scientific theory that the X and Y chromosomes -- that define the sexes -- did not communicate at all.

The research is funded by the Wellcome Trust, and published in The American Journal of Human Genetics. In it Dr Zoλ Rosser and colleagues have shown that exchange of DNA does actually occur between the X and Y in the regions previously thought to be completely isolated.

Professor Mark Jobling, who led the study, said: “Recently it was shown that the Y chromosome can talk to itself – swapping bits of DNA from one region to another, and potentially giving it a way to fix mutations that might affect male fertility. In this new research we’ve now shown that it actually maintains a genetic conversation with the X chromosome, potentially giving it a way to fix other kinds of mutations, too. So, maybe it’s not quite the dysfunctional loner we have always imagined it to be.”

The X and Y chromosomes have a vital role- sex is determined by them. Apart from the 22 pairs of regular chromosomes all of us share, women have two X chromosomes, while men have only one X but also the smaller Y chromosome. It’s the Y that determines maleness by triggering development of testes rather than ovaries in the early embryo.

Professor Jobling said: “These days the X and Y are a very odd couple, but long ago, before mammals evolved, they were an ordinary pair of identical chromosomes, exchanging DNA in a companionable way through the process of genetic recombination. However, once the Y chromosome took on the job of determining maleness, they stopped talking to each other. The X remained much the same, but the Y set out on a path of degeneration that saw it lose many of its genes and shrink to about one third the size of the X. Some scientists have predicted that it will eventually vanish altogether."

“These new findings from the Department of Genetics of the University of Leicester now challenge this interpretation of the Y chromosome’s fate,” he added.

The Leicester researchers discovered that the conversation between the X and Y chromosome goes both ways, and it’s also clear that mutations arising on a decaying Y chromosome can be passed to the X – the Y chromosome’s revenge, perhaps. Future work will assess how widespread X-Y exchanges have been during evolution, and what the likely functional effects might be.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zoλ H Rosser, Patricia Balaresque and Mark A Jobling. Gene Conversion between the X Chromosome and the Male-Specific Region of the Y Chromosome at a Translocation Hotspot. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 2009; 85 (1): 130 DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2009.06.009

Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Sex Talk Revelations Of The Lonely Y Chromosome: Communication Between Male And Female Occurs In Our Innermost Beings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090909203420.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2009, September 14). Sex Talk Revelations Of The Lonely Y Chromosome: Communication Between Male And Female Occurs In Our Innermost Beings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090909203420.htm
University of Leicester. "Sex Talk Revelations Of The Lonely Y Chromosome: Communication Between Male And Female Occurs In Our Innermost Beings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090909203420.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) — New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Spinosaurus Could Be First Semi-Aquatic Dinosaur

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — New research has shown that the Spinosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur, might have been just as well suited for life in the water as on land. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins