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Evidence for X-linkage and non-inactivation of steroid sulphatase locus in wood lemming

Nature volume 296, pages 766767 (22 April 1982) | Download Citation

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Abstract

One of the two X chromosomes is inactivated in somatic cells of adult female mammals to compensate for unequal amounts of X-chromosomal genes in the two sexes1. Although the general validity of this concept is not in doubt, there is evidence that a segment of the distal short arm of the human X chromosome carrying the gene, or genes for the Xg blood group system, the steroid sulphatase (STS) locus2,3, and a gene controlling a serologically defined male-specific antigen4,5, is never inactivated. It is not known whether this non-inactivated segment is a special feature of the human X chromosome or whether it is a general feature of the ancestral, highly conserved, mammalian X chromosome6. In man the number of functional STS gene copies can be deduced from intracellular STS activity7. With this in mind we have investigated the number of active gene copies on the X chromosome of the wood lemming (Myopus schistfcolor, Lilljeborg), by assaying STS in cultured cells of this species. We report here that STS activity is directly correlated to the number of X chromosomes and unrelated to the phenotypic sex. This suggests that in the wood lemming the STS gene is also X-linked and not subject to inactivation.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Institut für Humangenetik und Anthropologie, Albertstrasse 11, D-7800 Freiburg i. Br., FRG

    • H-H. Ropers
  2. Institute of Genetics, University of Lund, Sölvegatan 29, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden

    • U. Wiberg

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/296766a0

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