Horse Y chromosome assembly displays unique evolutionary features and putative stallion fertility genes

Jan E. Janečka, Brian W. Davis, Sharmila Ghosh, Nandina Paria, Pranab J. Das, Ludovic Orlando, Mikkel Schubert, Martin K. Nielsen, Tom A.E. Stout, Wesley Brashear, Gang Li, Charles D. Johnson, Richard P. Metz, Al Muatasim Al Zadjali, Charles C. Love, Dickson D. Varner, Daniel W. Bellott, William J. Murphy, Bhanu P. Chowdhary, Terje Raudsepp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Dynamic evolutionary processes and complex structure make the Y chromosome among the most diverse and least understood regions in mammalian genomes. Here, we present an annotated assembly of the male specific region of the horse Y chromosome (eMSY), representing the first comprehensive Y assembly in odd-toed ungulates. The eMSY comprises single-copy, equine specific multi-copy, PAR transposed, and novel ampliconic sequence classes. The eMSY gene density approaches that of autosomes with the highest number of retained X–Y gametologs recorded in eutherians, in addition to novel Y-born and transposed genes. Horse, donkey and mule testis RNAseq reveals several candidate genes for stallion fertility. A novel testis-expressed XY ampliconic sequence class, ETSTY7, is shared with the parasite Parascaris genome, providing evidence for eukaryotic horizontal transfer and inter-chromosomal mobility. Our study highlights the dynamic nature of the Y and provides a reference sequence for improved understanding of equine male development and fertility.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2945
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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