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Title: Dynamic Patterns of Sex Chromosome Evolution in Neognath Birds: Many Independent Barriers to Recombination at the ATP5F1A Locus
Avian sex chromosomes evolved after the divergence of birds and crocodilians from their common ancestor, so they are younger than the better-studied chromosomes of mammals. It has long been recognized that there may have been several stages to the evolution of avian sex chromosomes. For example, the CHD1 undergoes recombination in paleognaths but not neognaths. Genome assemblies have suggested that there may be variation in the timing of barriers to recombination among Neognathae, but there remains little understanding of the extent of this variability. Here, we look at partial sequences of ATP5F1A, which is on the avian Z and W chromosomes. It is known that recombination of this gene has independently ceased in Galliformes, Anseriformes, and at least five neoavian orders, but whether there are other independent cessations of recombination among Neoaves is not understood. We analyzed a combination of data extracted from published chromosomal-level genomes with data collected using PCR and cloning to identify Z and W copies in 22 orders. Our results suggest that there may be at least 19 independent cessations of recombination within Neognathae, and 3 clades that may still be undergoing recombination (or have only recently ceased recombination). Analyses of ATP5F1A protein sequences revealed an increased amino acid substitution rate for W chromosome gametologs, suggesting relaxed purifying selection on the W chromosome. Supporting this hypothesis, we found that the increased substitution rate was particularly pronounced for buried residues, which are expected to be more strongly constrained by purifying selection. This highlights the dynamic nature of avian sex chromosomes, and that this level of variation among clades means they should be a good system to understand sex chromosome evolution.  more » « less
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51 to 70
Medium: X
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National Science Foundation
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