Mammalian Sex Chromosome Structure, Gene Content, and Function in Male Fertility

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Mammalian sex chromosomes evolved from an ordinary pair of autosomes. The X chromosome is highly conserved, whereas the Y chromosome varies among species in size, structure, and gene content. Unlike autosomes that contain randomly mixed collections of genes, the sex chromosomes are enriched in testis-biased genes related to sexual development and reproduction, particularly in spermatogenesis and male fertility. This review focuses on how sex chromosome dosage compensation takes place and why meiotic sex chromosome inactivation occurs during spermatogenesis. Furthermore, the review also emphasizes how testis-biased genes are enriched on the sex chromosomes and their functions in male fertility. It is concluded that sex chromosomes are critical to sexual development and male fertility; however, our understanding of how sex chromosome genes direct sexual development and fertility has been hampered by the structural complexities of the sex chromosomes and by the multicopy nature of the testis gene families that also play a role in immunity, cancer development, and brain function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-124
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual Review of Animal Biosciences
StatePublished - Feb 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • General Veterinary


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