Chapter

Do the Hominid-Specific Regions of X–Y Homology Contain Candidate Genes Potentially Involved in a Critical Event Linked to Speciation?

Carole A. Sargent, Patricia Blanco and Nabeel A. Affara

in The Speciation of Modern Homo Sapiens

Published by British Academy

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780197263112
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734885 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197263112.003.0013

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Do the Hominid-Specific Regions of X–Y Homology Contain Candidate Genes Potentially Involved in a Critical Event Linked to Speciation?

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It has been postulated that the critical events leading to major differences between humans and the great apes are associated with major changes on sex chromosomes. Regions of homology between the human sex chromosomes have arisen at different points during mammalian evolution. The two largest blocks are specific to hominids, having appeared at some time after the divergence of humans and chimpanzees. These are the second pairing region found at the telomeres of the sex chromosome long arms and a region of homology between Xq21.3 (X chromosome long arm) and Yp11 (Y chromosome short arm). Questions arise as to whether these regions of the sex chromosomes contain functional genes and these genes might be candidates for the differences in cognitive function that distinguish modern humans from their ancestors. Furthermore, divergence between functional sequences on the X and the Y may lead to a more subtle sexually dimorphic variation.

Keywords: mammalian evolution; chromosome arms; cognitive function; sexual dimorphism; sex chromosomes

Chapter.  7055 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Prehistoric Archaeology

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