Evolution

Conservation of a sex-determining gene

Article metrics

Abstract

Vertebrates exhibit a surprising array of sex-determining mechanisms, including X- and Y-chromosome heterogametes in male mammals, Z- and W-chromosome hetero-gametes in female birds, and a temperature-dependent mechanism in many reptiles1. The Y-chromosome-linked SRY gene initiates male development in mammals2,3, but other vertebrates lack SRY and the genes controlling sex determination are largely unknown. Here we show that a gene implicated in human testis differentiation, DMRT1, has a gonad-specific and sexually dimorphic expression profile during embryogenesis in mammals, birds and a reptile (Alligator mississippiensis). Given the different sex-determining switches in these three groups, this gene must represent an ancient, conserved component of the ver-tebrate sex-determining pathway.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Sexually dimorphic expression of DMRT1 in embryonic gonads.

References

  1. 1

    Bull, J. J. Evolution of Sex-determining Mechanisms (Benjamin Cummings, Menlo Park, California, 1983).

  2. 2

    Sinclair, A. H. et al. Nature 346, 240–244 (1990).

  3. 3

    Koopman, P., Gubbay, J., Vivian, N., Goodfellow, P. N. & Lovell-Badge, R. Nature 351, 117–121 (1991).

  4. 4

    Raymond, C. S. et al. Nature 391, 691–695 (1998).

  5. 5

    Fleijter, W. L. et al. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 63, 794–802 (1998).

  6. 6

    Guioli, S. et al. Am. J. Hum. Genet. 63, 905–908 (1998).

  7. 7

    Raymond, C. et al. Hum. Mol. Genet. 8, 989–996 (1999).

  8. 8

    Nanda, I. et al. Nature Genet. 21, 258–259 (1999).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Smith, C., McClive, P., Western, P. et al. Conservation of a sex-determining gene. Nature 402, 601–602 (1999) doi:10.1038/45130

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.