skip to main content


The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 10:00 PM ET on Friday, December 8 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, December 9 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Title: Sex chromosomes in the tribe Cyprichromini (Teleostei: Cichlidae) of Lake Tanganyika
Abstract Sex determining loci have been described on at least 12 of 22 chromosomes in East African cichlid fishes, indicating a high rate of sex chromosome turnover. To better understand the rates and patterns of sex chromosome replacement, we used new methods to characterize the sex chromosomes of the cichlid tribe Cyprichromini from Lake Tanganyika. Our k-mer based methods successfully identified sex-linked polymorphisms without the need for a reference genome. We confirm the three previously reported sex chromosomes in this group. We determined the polarity of the sex chromosome turnover on LG05 in Cyprichromis as ZW to XY. We identified a new ZW locus on LG04 in Paracyprichromis brieni. The LG15 XY locus in Paracyprichromis nigripinnis was not found in other Paracyprichromis species, and the sample of Paracyprichromis sp. “tembwe ” is likely to be of hybrid origin. Although highly divergent sex chromosomes are thought to develop in a stepwise manner, we show two cases (LG05-ZW and LG05-XY) in which the region of differentiation encompasses most of the chromosome, but appears to have arisen in a single step. This study expands our understanding of sex chromosome evolution in the Cyprichromini, and indicates an even higher level of sex chromosome turnover than previously thought.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. African cichlid fishes harbor an extraordinary diversity of sex-chromosome systems. Within just one lineage, the tribe Haplochromini, at least 6 unique sex-chromosome systems have been identified. Here we focus on characterizing sex chromosomes in cichlids from the Lake Victoria basin. In Haplochromis chilotes, we identified a new ZW system associated with the white blotch color pattern, which shows substantial sequence differentiation over most of LG16, and is likely to be present in related species. In Haplochromis sauvagei, we found a coding polymorphism in amh that may be responsible for an XY system on LG23. In Pundamilia nyererei, we identified a feminizing effect of B chromosomes together with XY- and ZW-patterned differentiation on LG23. In Haplochromis latifasciatus, we identified a duplication of amh that may be present in other species of the Lake Victoria superflock. We further characterized the LG5-14 XY system in Astatotilapia burtoni and identified the oldest stratum on LG14. This species also showed ZW differentiation on LG2. Finally, we characterized an XY system on LG7 in Astatoreochromis alluaudi. This report brings the number of distinct sex-chromosome systems in haplochromine cichlids to at least 13, and highlights the dynamic evolution of sex determination and sex chromosomes in this young lineage. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Sex chromosomes can differ between species as a result of evolutionary turnover, a process that can be driven by evolution of the sex determination pathway. Canonical models of sex chromosome turnover hypothesize that a new master sex determining gene causes an autosome to become a sex chromosome or an XY chromosome pair to switch to a ZW pair (or vice versa). Here, a novel paradigm for the evolution of sex determination and sex chromosomes is presented, in which there is an evolutionary transition in the master sex determiner, but the X chromosome remains unchanged. There are three documented examples of the novel paradigm, and it is hypothesized that a similar process could happen in a ZW sex chromosome system. Three other taxa are also identified where the novel paradigm may have occurred, and how it could be distinguished from canonical trajectories in these and additional taxa is also described.

    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Transitions in the heterogamety of sex chromosomes (e.g., XY to ZW or vice versa) fundamentally alter the genetic basis of sex determination, however the details of these changes have been studied in only a few cases. In an XY to ZW transition, the X is likely to give rise to the W because they both carry feminizing genes and the X is expected to harbour less genetic load than the Y. Here, using a new reference genome forSalix exigua, we trace the X, Y, Z, and W sex determination regions during the homologous transition from an XY system to a ZW system in willow (Salix). We show that both the W and the Z arose from the Y chromosome. We find that the new Z chromosome shares multiple homologous putative masculinizing factors with the ancestral Y, whereas the new W lost these masculinizing factors and gained feminizing factors. The origination of both the W and Z from the Y was permitted by an unexpectedly low genetic load on the Y and this indicates that the origins of sex chromosomes during homologous transitions may be more flexible than previously considered.

    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Lizards and snakes (squamates) are known for their varied sex determining systems, and gecko lizards are especially diverse, having evolved sex chromosomes independently multiple times. While sex chromosomes frequently turnover among gecko genera, intrageneric turnovers are known only from Gekko and Hemidactylus. Here, we used RADseq to identify sex-specific markers in two species of Burmese bent-toed geckos. We uncovered XX/XY sex chromosomes in Cyrtodactylus chaunghanakwaensis and ZZ/ZW sex chromosomes in Cyrtodactylus pharbaungensis. This is the third instance of intrageneric turnover of sex chromosomes in geckos. Additionally, Cyrtodactylus are closely related to another genus with intrageneric turnover, Hemidactylus. Together, these data suggest that sex chromosome turnover may be common in this clade, setting them apart as exceptionally diverse in a group already known for diverse sex determination systems. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Fish have evolved a variety of sex‐determining (SD) systems including male heterogamy (XY), female heterogamy (ZW) and environmental SD. Little is known about SD mechanisms ofSebastesrockfishes, a highly speciose genus of importance to evolutionary and conservation biology. Here, we characterize the sex determination system in the sympatrically distributed sister speciesSebastes chrysomelasandSebastes carnatus. To identify sex‐specific genotypic markers, double digest restriction site – associated DNA sequencing (ddRAD‐seq) of genomic DNA from 40 sexed individuals of both species was performed. Loci were filtered for presence in all of the individuals of one sex, absence in the other sex and no heterozygosity. Of the 74 965 loci present in all males, 33 male‐specific loci met the criteria in at least one species and 17 in both. Conversely, no female‐specific loci were detected, together providing evidence of an XY sex determination system in both species. When aligned to a draft reference genome fromSebastes aleutianus, 26 sex‐specific loci were interspersed among 1168 loci that were identical between sexes. The nascent Y chromosome averaged 5% divergence from the X chromosome and mapped to referenceSebastesgenome scaffolds totalling 6.9Mbp in length. These scaffolds aligned to a single chromosome in three model fish genomes. Read coverage differences were also detected between sex‐specific and autosomal loci. A PCR‐RFLP assay validated the bioinformatic results and correctly identified sex of five additional individuals of known sex. A sex‐determining gene in other teleostsgonadal soma‐derived factor(gsdf) was present in the model fish chromosomes that spanned our sex‐specific markers.

    more » « less