Medaka pp 229-240 | Cite as

Frequent Turnover of Sex Chromosomes in the Medaka Fishes


The mechanisms that govern the decision to become male or female are diverse, ranging from environmental to strict sex chromosomal systems. In vertebrates, only two sex-determining genes have been isolated: SRY/Sry from mammals and DMY from the medaka, Oryzias latipes. In contrast to the widespread distribution of SRY/Sry in mammals, DMY is absent in most Oryzias species, suggesting that closely related species have different sex-determining genes. Recent studies have demonstrated that Oryzias species have different sex determination systems (XX/XY and ZZ/ZW). Furthermore, the sex chromosomes differ in their origin and degree of differentiation. These findings suggest the repeated creation of new sex chromosomes from autosomes during evolution of Oryzias fishes, possibly in association with the formation of new sex-determining genes.


Nonmammalian Vertebrate Oryzias Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author is grateful to Dr. Mitsuru Sakaizumi and Dr. Masaru Matsuda for valuable comments on this manuscript.


  1. Charlesworth D, Charlesworth B, Marais G (2005) Steps in the evolution of heteromorphic sex chromosomes. Heredity 95:118–128PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cnaani A, Lee BY, Zilberman N et al (2008) Genetics of sex determination in tilapiine species. Sex Dev 2:43–54PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Devlin RH, Nagahama Y (2002) Sex determination and sex differentiation in fish: an overview of genetic, physiological, and environmental influences. Aquaculture 208:191–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Graves JAM (2002) The rise and fall of SRY. Trends Genet 18:259–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Graves JAM (2006) Sex chromosome specialization and degeneration in mammals. Cell 124:901–914PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gubbay J, Collignon J, Koopman P et al (1990) A gene mapping to the sex-determining region of the mouse Y chromosome is a member of a novel family of embryonically expressed genes. Nature (Lond) 346:245–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hamaguchi S, Toyazaki Y, Shinomiya A et al (2004) The XX–XY sex-determination system in Oryzias luzonensis and O. mekongensis revealed by the sex ratio of the progeny of sex-reversed fish. Zool Sci 21:1015–1018PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Kondo M, Nagao E, Mitani H et al (2001) Differences in recombination frequencies during female and male meioses of the sex chromosomes of the medaka, Oryzias latipes. Genet Res 78:23–30PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kondo M, Nanda I, Hornung U et al (2003) Absence of the candidate male sex-determining gene dmrt1b(Y) of medaka from other fish species. Curr Biol 13:416–420PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kondo M, Nanda I, Hornung U et al (2004) Evolutionary origin of the medaka Y chromosome. Curr Biol 14:1664–1669PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kondo M, Hornung U, Nanda I et al (2006) Genomic organization of the sex-determining and adjacent regions of the sex chromosomes of medaka. Genome Res 16:815–826PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Koopman P (2001) The genetics and biology of vertebrate sex determination. Cell 105:843–847PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Matsuda M, Matsuda C, Hamaguchi S et al (1998) Identification of the sex chromosomes of the medaka, Oryzias latipes, by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Cytogenet Cell Genet 82:257–262PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Matsuda M, Sotoyama S, Hamaguchi S et al (1999) Male-specific restriction of recombination frequency in the sex chromosomes of the medaka, Oryzias latipes. Genet Res 73:225–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Matsuda M, Nagahama Y, Shinomiya A et al (2002) DMY is a Y-specific DM-domain gene required for male development in the medaka fish. Nature (Lond) 417:559–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Matsuda M, Sato T, Toyazaki Y et al (2003) Oryzias curvinotus has DMY, a gene that is required for male development in the medaka O. latipes. Zool Sci 20:159–161PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Matsuda M, Shinomiya A, Kinoshita M et al (2007) The DMY gene induces male development in genetically female (XX) medaka fish. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104:3865–3870PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nagai T, Takehana Y, Hamaguchi S et al (2008) Identification of the sex-determining locus in the Thai medaka, Oryzias minutillus. Cytogenet Genome Res 121:137–142PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Nanda I, Kondo M, Hornung U et al (2002) A duplicated copy of DMRT1 in the sex-determining region of the Y chromosome of the medaka, Oryzias latipes. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:11778–11783PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Otake H, Shinomiya A, Matsuda M et al (2006) Wild-derived XY sex-reversal mutants in the medaka, Oryzias latipes. Genetics 173:2083–2090PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Otake H, Hayashi Y, Hamaguchi S et al (2008) The Y chromosome that lost the male-determining function behaves as an X chromosome in the medaka fish, Oryzias latipes. Genetics 179:2157–2162PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Phillips RB, Konkol NR, Reed KM et al (2001) Chromosome painting supports lack of homology among sex chromosomes in Oncorhynchus, Salmo, and Salvelinus (Salmonidae). Genetica 111:119–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Phillips RB, Morasch MR, Park LK et al (2005) Identification of the sex chromosome pair in coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch): lack of conservation of the sex linkage group with chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Cytogenet Genome Res 111:166–170PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Phillips RB, DeKoning J, Morasch MR et al (2007) Identification of the sex chromosome pair in chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) and pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha). Cytogenet Genome Res 116:298–304PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Raymond CS, Shamu CE, Shen MM et al (1998) Evidence for evolutionary conservation of sex-determining genes. Nature (Lond) 391:691–695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rice WR (1996) Evolution of the Y sex chromosome in animals. Bioscience 46:331–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ross JA, Urton JR, Boland J et al (2009) Turnover of sex chromosomes in the stickleback fishes (Gasterosteidae). PLoS Genet 5:e1000391PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sinclair AH, Berta P, Palmer MS et al (1990) A gene from the human sex-determining region encodes a protein with homology to a conserved DNA-binding motif. Nature (Lond) 346:240–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Skaletsky H, Kuroda-Kawaguchi T, Minx PJ et al (2003) The male-specific region of the human Y chromosome is a mosaic of discrete sequence classes. Nature (Lond) 423:825–837CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Takehana Y, Naruse K, Sakaizumi M (2005) Molecular phylogeny of the medaka fishes genus Oryzias (Beloniformes: Adrianichthyidae) based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences. Mol Phylogenet Evol 36:417–428PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Takehana Y, Demiyah D, Naruse K et al (2007a) Evolution of different Y chromosomes in two medaka species, Oryzias dancena and O. latipes. Genetics 175:1335–1340PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Takehana Y, Naruse K, Hamaguchi S et al (2007b) Evolution of ZZ/ZW and XX/XY sex-determination systems in the closely related medaka species, Oryzias hubbsi and O. dancena. Chromosoma (Berl) 116:463–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Takehana Y, Hamaguchi S, Sakaizumi M (2008) Different origins of ZZ/ZW sex chromosomes in closely related medaka fishes, Oryzias javanicus and O. hubbsi. Chromosome Res 16:801–811PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tanaka K, Takehana Y, Naruse K et al (2007) Evidence for different origins of sex chromosomes in closely related medaka fishes: Substitution of the master sex-determining gene. Genetics 177:2075–2081PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Woram RA, Gharbi K, Sakamoto T et al (2003) Comparative genome analysis of the primary sex-determining locus in salmonid fishes. Genome Res 13:272–280PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yamamoto T (1961) Progenies of sex-reversal females mated with sex-reversal males in the medaka, Oryzias latipes. J Exp Zool 146:163–179PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zarkower D (2001) Establishing sexual dimorphism: conservation amidst diversity? Nat Rev Genet 2:175–185PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of BioresourcesNational Institute for Basic BiologyOkazakiJapan

Personalised recommendations