, Volume 119, Issue 3, pp 333-342

Evolution of the Spindlin Gene in Birds: Independent Cessation of the Recombination of Sex Chromosomes at the Spindlin Locus in Neognathous Birds and Tinamous, a Palaeognathous Avian Family

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Abstract

Tinamous (Aves, Palaeognathae, Tinamiformes) are primitive birds, generally considered to be the sister group to the ratites. Tinamous possess a W sex-chromosome, intermediate in heterochromatization between the largely euchromatic W chromosome of the ratites and the highly condensed W chromosome of the neognathous birds. Of the four genes which are known to have diverged copies on the neognathous avian W and Z chromosome (ATP5A1, CHD1, PKC and SPIN) only the spindlin gene has W- and Z-chromosomal forms in the tinamiformes. This paper describes experiments which show that the sequences of these forms are more similar to each other and to the homologous undifferentiated spindlin gene sequences in the ratite genome than to the W or Z forms of the spindlin gene in other, neognathous species. This suggests that cessation of recombination at the spindlin locus of the ancestral W and Z chromosomes of the paleognathous tinamiformes and the neognathous avian species were independent events.