The Deficit of Male-Biased Genes on the D. melanogaster X Chromosome Is Expression-Dependent: A Consequence of Dosage Compensation?
In Drosophila, there is a consistent deficit of male-biased genes on the X chromosome. It has been suggested that male-biased genes may evolve from initially unbiased genes as a result of increased expression levels in males. If transcription rates are limited, a large increase in expression in the testis may be harder to achieve for single-copy X-linked genes than for autosomal genes, because they are already hypertranscribed due to dosage compensation. This hypothesis predicts that the larger the increase in expression required to make a male-biased gene, the lower the chance of this being achievable if it is located on the X chromosome. Consequently, highly expressed male-biased genes should be located on the X chromosome less often than lowly expressed male-biased genes. This pattern is observed in our analysis of publicly available data, where microarray data or EST data are used to detect male-biased genes in D. melanogaster and to measure their expression levels. This is consistent with the idea that limitations in transcription rates may prevent male-biased genes from accumulating on the X chromosome.
KeywordsDrosophila melanogaster Sex-biased genes Genomic distribution X chromosome Dosage compensation
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