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PLoS Genet 2023 Oct 01;1910:e1010990. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010990.
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Functional dissection and assembly of a small, newly evolved, W chromosome-specific genomic region of the African clawed frog Xenopus laevis.

Cauret CMS , Jordan DC , Kukoly LM , Burton SR , Anele EU , Kwiecien JM , Gansauge MT , Senthillmohan S , Greenbaum E , Meyer M , Horb ME , Evans BJ .

Genetic triggers for sex determination are frequently co-inherited with other linked genes that may also influence one or more sex-specific phenotypes. To better understand how sex-limited regions evolve and function, we studied a small W chromosome-specific region of the frog Xenopus laevis that contains only three genes (dm-w, scan-w, ccdc69-w) and that drives female differentiation. Using gene editing, we found that the sex-determining function of this region requires dm-w but that scan-w and ccdc69-w are not essential for viability, female development, or fertility. Analysis of mesonephros+gonad transcriptomes during sexual differentiation illustrates masculinization of the dm-w knockout transcriptome, and identifies mostly non-overlapping sets of differentially expressed genes in separate knockout lines for each of these three W-specific gene compared to wildtype sisters. Capture sequencing of almost all Xenopus species and PCR surveys indicate that the female-determining function of dm-w is present in only a subset of species that carry this gene. These findings map out a dynamic evolutionary history of a newly evolved W chromosome-specific genomic region, whose components have distinctive functions that frequently degraded during Xenopus diversification, and evidence the evolutionary consequences of recombination suppression.

PubMed ID: 37792893
PMC ID: PMC10578606
Article link: PLoS Genet
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: ccdc69 dm-w dmrt1
GO keywords: W chromosome [+]
gRNAs referenced: ccdc69 gRNA1 xdm-w gRNA2

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Akagi, Recurrent neo-sex chromosome evolution in kiwifruit. 2023, Pubmed