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Maintenance of ancestral sex chromosomes in Palearctic tree frogs: direct evidence from Hyla orientalis.
Contrasting with the situation found in birds and mammals, sex chromosomes are generally homomorphic in poikilothermic vertebrates. This homomorphy was recently shown to result from occasional X-Y recombinations (not from turnovers) in several European species of tree frogs (Hyla arborea, H. intermedia and H. molleri). Because of recombination, however, alleles at sex-linked loci were rarely diagnostic at the population level; support for sex linkage had to rely on multilocus associations, combined with occasional sex differences in allelic frequencies. Here, we use direct evidence, obtained from anatomical and histological analyses of offspring with known pedigrees, to show that the Eastern tree frog (H. orientalis) shares the same pair of sex chromosomes, with identical patterns of male heterogamety and complete absence of X-Y recombination in males. Conservation of an ancestral pair of sex chromosomes, regularly rejuvenated via occasional X-Y recombination, seems thus a widespread pattern among Hyla species. Sibship analyses also identified discrepancies between genotypic and phenotypic sex among offspring, associated with abnormal gonadal development, suggesting a role for sexually antagonistic genes on the sex chromosomes.
Homomorphic sex chromosomes, Anura, recombination, sex linkage, evolution, tree frogs.
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