Extensive Gene Conversion Drives the Concerted Evolution of Paralogous Copies of the SRY Gene in European Rabbits
Mol Biol Evol (2010) 27 (11): 2437-2440
First published online: June 4, 2010
The human Y chromosome consists of ampliconic genes, which are located in palindromes and undergo frequent gene conversion, and single-copy genes including the primary sex-determining locus, SRY. Here, we demonstrate that SRY is duplicated in a large palindrome in the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Furthermore, we show through comparative sequencing that orthologous palindrome arms have diverged 0.40% between rabbit subspecies over at least 2 My, but paralogous palindrome arms have remained nearly identical. This provides clear evidence of gene conversion on the rabbit Y chromosome. Together with previous observations in humans, these results suggest that gene conversion is a general feature of the evolution of the mammalian Y chromosome.