Sex-specific splicing of Z- and W-borne nr5a1 alleles suggests sex determination is controlled by chromosome conformation

Xiuwen Zhang, Susan Wagner, Clare Holleley, Janine Deakin, Kazumi Matsubara, Ira Deveson, Deni O'Meally, Hardip Patel, Tariq Ezaz, Zhao Li, Chexu Wang, Melanie Edwards, Jennifer Marshall Graves & Arthur Georges
Pogona vitticeps has female heterogamety (ZZ/ZW) but the master sex determining gene is unknown, as is the case for all reptiles. We show that nr5a1, a gene that is essential in mammalian sex determination, has alleles on the Z and W chromosomes (Z-nr5a1 and W-nr5a1), which are both expressed and can recombine. Three transcript isoforms of Z-nr5a1 were detected in gonads of adult ZZ males, two of which encode a functional protein. However, ZW females...
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