Recent studies have suggested that gene gain and loss may contribute significantly to the divergence between humans and chimpanzees. Initial comparisons of the human and chimpanzee Y-chromosomes indicate that chimpanzees have a disproportionate loss of Y-chromosome genes, which may have implications for the adaptive evolution of sex-specific as well as reproductive traits, especially because one of the genes lost in chimpanzees is critically involved in spermatogenesis in humans. Here we have characterized Y-chromosome sequences in gorilla, bonobo, and several chimpanzee subspecies for 7 chimpanzee gene-disruptive mutations. Our analyses show that 6 of these gene-disruptive mutations predate chimpanzee-bonobo divergence at ∼1.8 MYA, which indicates significant Y-chromosome change in the chimpanzee lineage relatively early in the evolutionary divergence of humans and chimpanzees.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology