Chromosome Research

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 561–570 | Cite as

Impact of repetitive DNA on sex chromosome evolution in plants

  • Roman HobzaEmail author
  • Zdenek Kubat
  • Radim Cegan
  • Wojciech Jesionek
  • Boris Vyskot
  • Eduard KejnovskyEmail author


Structurally and functionally diverged sex chromosomes have evolved in many animals as well as in some plants. Sex chromosomes represent a specific genomic region(s) with locally suppressed recombination. As a consequence, repetitive sequences involving transposable elements, tandem repeats (satellites and microsatellites), and organellar DNA accumulate on the Y (W) chromosomes. In this paper, we review the main types of repetitive elements, their gathering on the Y chromosome, and discuss new findings showing that not only accumulation of various repeats in non-recombining regions but also opposite processes form Y chromosome. The aim of this review is also to discuss the mechanisms of repetitive DNA spread involving (retro) transposition, DNA polymerase slippage or unequal crossing-over, as well as modes of repeat removal by ectopic recombination. The intensity of these processes differs in non-recombining region(s) of sex chromosomes when compared to the recombining parts of genome. We also speculate about the relationship between heterochromatinization and the formation of heteromorphic sex chromosomes.


repetitive sequences transposable elements tandem repeats (satellites) microsatellites recombination sex chromosomes 



Transposable element


Long terminal repeat


Rumex acetosa Y chromosome-specific sequence


Silene tandem repeat accumulated on the Y chromosome


Tandem Repeat Accumulated on the Y Chromosome


Nuclear insertions of plastid DNA


Nuclear insertions of mitochondrial DNA


Hermaphrodite-specific region of the Yh chromosome


Male-specific region of the Y chromosome


Long interspersed nuclear element



This research was supported by the Czech Science Foundation (grants P501/12/G090 to BV, P501/12/2220 to RH, 15-21523Y to ZK, and 15-02891S to EK). We would like to thank Alexander Oulton for the English corrections.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Developmental Genetics, Institute of BiophysicsAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Institute of Experimental Botany AS CRCentre of the Region Hana for Biotechnological and Agricultural ResearchOlomouc-HoliceCzech Republic

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