Apr 6, 2020

Sex determination through X-Y heterogamety in Salix nigra

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Brian J SandersonM. S. Olson


The development of non-recombining sex chromosomes has radical effects on the evolution of discrete sexes and sexual dimorphism. Although dioecy is rare in plants, sex chromosomes have evolved repeatedly throughout the diversification of angiosperms, and many of these sex chromosomes are relatively young compared to those found in vertebrates. The Salicaceae, the family of plants that includes poplars and willows, contains predominantly dioecious species and likely evolved separate sexes prior to the split of willows and poplars over 70 million years ago. Despite this shared origin of dioecy, both the chromosomal location of the sex determination region and sex chromosome heterogamety differ between and within these genera. In this study, we identified a novel sex-linked region (SLR) in Salix nigra, a basal species in the willow clade, and demonstrate that this species has XY heterogamety. We did not detect any genetic overlap with the previously characterized ZW SLRs in willows, which map to a different chromosome. The S. nigra SLR is characterized by strong recombination suppression across a 2 MB region. The non-recombining portion of the X chromosome also exhibits a pattern of low Tajima's D, consistent with a recent selecti...Continue Reading

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