Gene discovery and comparative analysis of X-degenerate genes from the domestic cat Y chromosome

Alison J. Pearks Wilkerson, Terje Raudsepp, Tina Graves, Derek Albracht, Wesley Warren, Bhanu P. Chowdhary, Loren C. Skow, William J. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Mammalian sex chromosomes are the remnants of an ancient autosomal pair present in the ancestral mammalian karyotype. As a consequence of random decay and chromosome rearrangements over evolutionary time, Y chromosome gene repertoires differ between eutherian lineages. To investigate the gene repertoire and transcriptional analysis of the domestic cat Y chromosome, and their potential roles in spermatogenesis, we obtained full-length cDNA sequences for all known Y genes and their X chromosome gametologues and used those sequences to create a BAC-based physical map of the X-degenerate region. Our results indicate the domestic cat Y chromosome has retained most X-degenerate genes that were present on the ancestral eutherian Y chromosome. Transcriptional analysis revealed that most feline X-degenerate genes have retained housekeeping functions shared by their X chromosome partners and have not been specialized for testis-specific functions. Physical mapping data indicate that the cat SRY gene is present as multiple functional copies and that very little of the felid Y chromosome may be single copy. X-Y gene divergence time estimates obtained using Bayesian methods confirm an early origin of Stratum 1 genes prior to the origin of therian mammals. We observed no statistical difference in the ages of Stratum 2 and Stratum 3 gene pairs, suggesting that eutherian and marsupial Stratum 2 genes may have been independently retained in each lineage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-338
Number of pages10
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Cat
  • Evolutionary strata
  • Gene evolution
  • Physical map
  • Y chromosome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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