Sequence analysis in Bos taurus reveals pervasiveness of X–Y arms races in mammalian lineages

Jennifer F. Hughes, Helen Skaletsky, Tatyana Pyntikova, Natalia Koutseva, Terje Raudsepp, Laura G. Brown, Daniel W. Bellott, Ting Jan Cho, Shannon Dugan-Rocha, Ziad Khan, Colin Kremitzki, Catrina Fronick, Tina A. Graves-Lindsay, Lucinda Fulton, Wesley C. Warren, Richard K. Wilson, Elaine Owens, James E. Womack, William J. Murphy, Donna M. MuznyKim C. Worley, Bhanu P. Chowdhary, Richard A. Gibbs, David C. Page

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Studies of Y Chromosome evolution have focused primarily on gene decay, a consequence of suppression of crossing-over with the X Chromosome. Here, we provide evidence that suppression of X–Y crossing-over unleashed a second dynamic: selfish X–Y arms races that reshaped the sex chromosomes in mammals as different as cattle, mice, and men. Using super-resolution sequencing, we explore the Y Chromosome of Bos taurus (bull) and find it to be dominated by massive, lineage-specific amplification of testis-expressed gene families, making it the most gene-dense Y Chromosome sequenced to date. As in mice, an X-linked homolog of a bull Y-amplified gene has become testis-specific and amplified. This evolutionary convergence implies that lineage-specific X–Y coevolution through gene amplification, and the selfish forces underlying this phenomenon, were dominatingly powerful among diverse mammalian lineages. Together with Y gene decay, X–Y arms races molded mammalian sex chromosomes and influenced the course of mammalian evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1716-1726
Number of pages11
JournalGenome Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 18 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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