Researchers from the Institute of Population Genetics at Vetmeduni Vienna, using a new and highly specific analysis method, could now provide fresh momentum to help decode the evolutionary dynamics of the Y chromosome. Their study shows that ten times more new genes are transferred onto the Y chromosome in fruit flies than had been previously thought. Some of these new genes even appear to have taken on important functions.
A special surprise for the research team was that four of the 25 newly transferred genes on the Y chromosome have already assumed an important function there. “As these new genes can be found in all individuals of a species, the question arises as to which functions these new Y-linked genes could have,” says Tobler. Until now, it has been still completely unclear if and how long these new genes can withstand the deterioration of the Y chromosome. As the new analysis method does not require a reference genome for the Y chromosome, it offers enormous potential to study the dynamics of new genes on the Y chromosome in many different species. “I expect many more exciting findings,” concludes Christian Schlötterer. Paper. (paywall) – Ray Tobler, Viola Nolte, Christian Schlötterer. High rate of translocation-based gene birth on theDrosophilaY chromosome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017; 201706502 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1706502114 More.
File under: The complete inadequacy of the Darwin-driven, gene-centric approach to evolution.
See also: Human and chimp Y chromosomes are very different
Y chromosome kept for “very specific reason,” “not random”
Y chromosome arose independently twice at same time, 180 mya
Junk DNA files: Genes on the Y chromosome a must for male survival (The Y chromosome had been reprieved earlier from its status as a vestige about to disappear, but this is newish)