Heteromorphic sex chromosomes: Navigating meiosis without a homologous partner

Paula M. Checchi, Joanne Engebrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Accurate chromosome segregation during meiosis relies on homology between the maternal and paternal chromosomes. Yet by definition, sex chromosomes of the heterogametic sex lack a homologous partner. Recent studies in a number of systems have shed light on the unique meiotic behavior of heteromorphic sex chromosomes, and highlight both the commonalities and differences in divergent species. During meiotic prophase, the homology-dependent processes of pairing, synapsis, and recombination have been modified in many different ways to ensure segregation of heteromorphic sex chromosomes at the first meiotic division. Additionally, an almost universal feature of heteromorphic sex chromosomes during meiosis is transcriptional silencing, or meiotic sex chromosome inactivation, an essential process proposed to prevent expression of genes deleterious to meiosis in the heterogametic sex as well as to shield unpaired sex chromosomes from recognition by meiotic checkpoints. Comparative analyses of the meiotic behavior of sex chromosomes in nematodes, mammals, and birds reveal important conserved features as well as provide insight into sex chromosome evolution. Mol. Reprod.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-632
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Reproduction and Development
Volume78
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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