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The replaceable master of sex determination: bottom-up hypothesis revisited

Abstract : Different group of vertebrates and invertebrates demonstrate an amazing diversity of gene regulations not only at the top but also at the bottom of the sex determination genetic network. As early as 1995, based on emerging findings in Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans , Wilkins suggested that the evolution of the sex determination pathway evolved from the bottom to the top of the hierarchy. Based on our current knowledge, this review revisits the ‘bottom-up’ hypothesis and applies its logic to vertebrates. The basic operation of the determination network is through the dynamics of the opposing male and female pathways together with a persistent need to maintain the sexual identity of the cells of the gonad up to the reproductive stage in adults. The sex-determining trigger circumstantially acts from outside the genetic network, but the regulatory network is not built around it as a main node, thus maintaining the genetic structure of the network. New sex-promoting genes arise either through allelic diversification or gene duplication and act specially at the sex-determination period, without integration into the complete network. Due to this peripheral position the new regulator is not an indispensable component of the sex-determining network and can be easily replaced. This article is part of the theme issue ‘Challenging the paradigm in sex chromosome evolution: empirical and theoretical insights with a focus on vertebrates (Part I)’.
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https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-03289907
Contributor : Amaury Herpin <>
Submitted on : Monday, July 19, 2021 - 9:41:21 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 5, 2021 - 3:54:27 AM

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Mateus Contar Adolfi, Amaury Herpin, Manfred Schartl. The replaceable master of sex determination: bottom-up hypothesis revisited. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Royal Society, The, 2021, 376 (1832), pp.20200090. ⟨10.1098/rstb.2020.0090⟩. ⟨hal-03289907⟩

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