The evolution of restricted recombination in sex chromosomes

R Bergero, Deborah Charlesworth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

281 Citations (Scopus)


In species with separate sexes, sex determination often has a genetic basis, and in a wide diversity of taxa a pair of cytologically distinguishable 'sex chromosomes' are found such that the chromosome complements of males and females differ (males are often XY and females XX, but sometimes females are ZW whereas males are ZZ). Recent evidence from sequences of sex-linked genes confirms classical genetic evidence that these chromosomes are a homologous pair, evolved from a normal chromosome pair, between which recombination stopped. We discuss why sex chromosomes evolve reduced recombination and why different parts of the chromosomes stopped recombining at different times, and outline some of the consequences of suppressed recombination, including the evolution of chromosome heteromorphism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-102
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number2
Publication statusPrint publication - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


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