Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 193, Issue 3, pp 384–388 | Cite as

A model for mammalian male determination based on a passive Y chromosome

  • H. Sharat Chandra


A model is suggested for mammalian male determination based on interactions postulated to occur among an autosomal repressor gene, an X-linked male-determining gene termed Tdx, and multiple copies of certain DNA sequences on the Y chromosome that do not code for any protein. The repressor, synthesised in limited amounts, has higher affinity for the Y-linked sequences than for Tdx and its affinity for Tdx is greater than that of RNA polymerase. In XY cells the Y effectively binds all available repressor, permitting transcription of Tdx to occur. In XX cells, since competition from the Y-linked high-affinity sequences is absent, the repressor binds to Tdx and prevents transcription. As a result of this competition between Tdx and the Y-linked high-affinity sites for limiting concentrations of the autosomal repressor, the product of the Tdx gene (TDX) is synthesized in the male but not in the female. It is suggested that in determination of the male sex, the role of the Y chromosome is to serve as a sink for the Tdx repressor. The proposed interactions provide a plausible explanation for the genetic properties of several anomalies of sexual development in mouse, man, and other mammals. The model suggests that the postulated multiple, highaffinity sequences on the Y chromosome of the mouse are included among the DNA sequences referred to as the Sxr-Bkm sequences.


Multiple Copy Sexual Development Repressor Gene Genetic Property Male Determination 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Sharat Chandra
    • 1
  1. 1.Microbiology and Cell Biology Laboratory, Centre for Theoretical StudiesIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia

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