Chromosomal sex-determining regions in animals, plants and fungi.
The independent evolution of sex chromosomes in many eukaryotic species raises questions about the evolutionary forces that drive their formation. Recent advances in our understanding of these genomic structures in mammals in parallel with alternate models such as the monotremes, fish, dioecious plants, and fungi support the idea of a remarkable convergence in structure to form large, non-recombining regions with discrete evolutionary strata. The discovery that evolutionary events similar to those that have transpired in humans have also occurred during the formation of sex chromosomes in organisms as divergent as the plant Silene, the fungus Cryptococcus and the fish medaka highlights the importance of future studies in these systems. Such investigation will broaden our knowledge of the evolution and plasticity of these ubiquitous genomic features underlying sexual dimorphism and reproduction.
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