Record Details

Rovatsos, Michail;Pokorná, Martina;Altmanová, Marie;Kratochvíl, Lukáš
Cretaceous park of sex determination: sex chromosomes are conserved across iguanas
Biology Letters
Journal Article
Iguanidae;Cyclura nubila;Iguana iguana
Many poikilothermic vertebrate lineages, especially among amphibians and fishes, possess a rapid turnover of sex chromosomes, while in endotherms there is a notable stability of sex chromosomes. Reptiles in general exhibit variability in sex-determining systems; as typical poikilotherms, they might be expected to have a rapid turnover of sex chromosomes. However, molecular data which would enable the testing of the stability of sex chromosomes are lacking in most lineages. Here, we provide molecular evidence that sex chromosomes are highly conserved across iguanas, one of the most species-rich clade of reptiles. We demonstrate that members of the New World families Iguanidae, Tropiduridae, Leiocephalidae, Phrynosomatidae, Dactyloidae and Crotaphytidae, as well as of the family Opluridae which is restricted to Madagascar, all share homologous sex chromosomes. As our sampling represents the majority of the phylogenetic diversity of iguanas, the origin of iguana sex chromosomes can be traced back in history to the basal splitting of this group which occurred during the Cretaceous period. Iguanas thus show a stability of sex chromosomes comparable to mammals and birds and represent the group with the oldest sex chromosomes currently known among amniotic poikilothermic vertebrates.