The region Xq21.3/Yp11.1 represents the largest segment of homology between the sex chromosomes in humans, though no recombination occurs in male meiosis. It presumably arose as a transposition from the X to the Y chromosome; the present-day organization in the latter chromosome indicates a paracentric inversion that disrupted its continuity. Moreover, an X-specific block (defined by the marker DXS214) is embedded in the region. Previously, no hypotheses about the length, origin, or evolution of this X-specific segment have been proposed. Here we report on the refinement of the size and the sequence of the distal boundary of the X-specific block. Furthermore, we have tracked by FISH experiments the evolution of this region in primates. This further clarifies the multistep mechanism of origin for the XY homology region, by demonstrating that the X-specific block was deleted from the Y chromosome after the initial transfer from the X chromosome.
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