How do heterogametic females survive without gene dosage compensation?

Sharat Chandra, H. (1991) How do heterogametic females survive without gene dosage compensation? Journal of Genetics, 70 (3). pp. 137-146. ISSN 0022-1333

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When the male is the heterogametic sex (XX-XY or XX-XO), as inDrosophila, orthopteran insects, mammals andCaenorhabditis elegans, X-linked genes are subject to dosage compensation: the single X in the male is functionally equivalent to the two Xs in the female. However, when the female is heterogametic (ZZ-ZW), as in birds, butterflies and moths, Z-linked genes are apparently not dosage-compensated. This difference between X-linked and Z-linked genes raises fundamental questions about the role of dosage compensation. It is argued that (i) genes which require dosage compensation are primarily those that control morphogenesis and the prospective body plan; (ii) the products of these genes are required in disomic doses especially during oogenesis and early embryonic development; (iii) heterogametic females synthesize and store during oogenesis itself morphogenetically essential gene products - including those encoded by Z-linked genes - in large quantities; (iv) the abundance of these gene products in the egg and their persistence relatively late into embryogenesis enables heterogametic females to overcome the monosomic state of the Z chromosome in ZW embryos. Female heterogamety is predominant in birds, reptiles and amphibians, all of which have megalecithal eggs containing several thousand times more maternal RNA and other maternal messages than eggs of mammals,Caenorhabditis elegans, orDrosophila. This increase in egg size, yolk content and, concomitantly, the size of the maternal legacy to the embryo, may have facilitated female heterogamety and the absence of dosage compensation.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Indian Academy of Sciences.
Keywords:Z Chromosomes; Dominant Maternal Genes; Megalecithal Eggs; Maternal mRNA
ID Code:5218
Deposited On:18 Oct 2010 06:56
Last Modified:16 May 2016 15:45

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