Has recombination changed during the recent evolution of the guppy Y chromosome?

Deborah Charlesworth*, Suo Qiu, Roberta Bergero, Jim Gardner, Karen Keegan, Lengxob Yong, Abigail Hastings, Mateusz Konczal

*Corresponding author for this work

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Genome sequencing and genetic mapping of molecular markers have demonstrated nearly complete Y-linkage across much of the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) XY chromosome pair. Predominant Y-linkage of factors controlling visible male-specific coloration traits also suggested that these polymorphisms are sexually antagonistic (SA). However, occasional exchanges with the X are detected, and recombination patterns also appear to differ between natural guppy populations, suggesting ongoing evolution of recombination suppression under selection created by partially sex-linked SA polymorphisms. We used molecular markers to directly estimate genetic maps in sires from 4 guppy populations. The maps are very similar, suggesting that their crossover patterns have not recently changed. Our maps are consistent with population genomic results showing that variants within the terminal 5 Mb of the 26.5 Mb sex chromosome, chromosome 12, are most clearly associated with the maleness factor, albeit incompletely. We also confirmed occasional crossovers proximal to the male-determining region, defining a second, rarely recombining, pseudo-autosomal region, PAR2. This fish species may therefore have no completely male-specific region (MSY) more extensive than the male-determining factor. The positions of the few crossover events suggest a location for the male-determining factor within a physically small repetitive region. A sex-reversed XX male had few crossovers in PAR2, suggesting that this region’s low crossover rate depends on the phenotypic, not the genetic, sex. Thus, rare individuals whose phenotypic and genetic sexes differ, and/or occasional PAR2 crossovers in males can explain the failure to detect fully Y-linked variants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberiyad198
Issue number1
Early online date13 Nov 2023
Publication statusPrint publication - Jan 2024


  • partial sex linkage
  • pseudo-autosomal region
  • sex reversal
  • sexually antagonistic polymorphism
  • Poecilia/genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human, Y
  • Animals
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Sex Chromosomes/genetics
  • Y Chromosome/genetics


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