ASW: a gene with conserved avian W-linkage and female specific expression in chick embryonic gonad


Vertebrates exhibit a variety of sex determining mechanisms which fall broadly into two classes: environmental or genetic. In birds and mammals sex is determined by a genetic mechanism. In mammals males are the heterogametic sex (XY) with the Y chromosome acting as a dominant determiner of sex due to the action of the testis-determining factor, SRY. In birds females are the heterogametic sex (ZW); however, it is not known whether the W chromosome carries a dominant ovary-determining gene, or whether Z chromosome dosage determines sex. Using an experimental approach, which assumes only that the sex-determining event in birds is accompanied by sex-specific changes in gene expression, we have identified a novel gene, ASW (Avian Sex-specific W-linked). The putative protein for ASW is related to the HIT (histidine triad) family of proteins. ASW shows female-specific expression in genital ridges and maps to the chicken W chromosome. In addition, we show that, with the exception of ratites, ASW is linked to the W chromosome in each of 17 bird species from nine different families of the class Aves.

DOI: 10.1007/s004270050310

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@article{ONeill2000ASWAG, title={ASW: a gene with conserved avian W-linkage and female specific expression in chick embryonic gonad}, author={Michael Gregory O’Neill and Michele D. Binder and Craig Smith and Jane E. Andrews and Kirsty J. Reed and Matthijs J. Smith and C. Millar and David M. Lambert and Andrew H. Sinclair}, journal={Development Genes and Evolution}, year={2000}, volume={210}, pages={243-249} }