Mammals present an XX/XY system of chromosomal sex determination, males being the heterogametic sex. Comparative studies of the gene content of sex chromosomes from the major groups of mammals reveal that most Y genes have X-linked homologues and that X and Y share homologous pseudoautosomal regions. These observations, together with the presence of the two homologous regions (pseudoautosomal regions) at the tips of the sex chromosomes, suggest that these chromosomes began as an ordinary pair of homologous autosomes. Birds present a ZW/ZZ system of chromosomal sex determination where females are the heterogametic sex. In this case, avian sex chromosomes are derived from different pairs of autosomes than mammals. The evolutionary pathway from the autosomal homomorphic departure to the present-day heteromorphic sex chromosomes in mammals includes suppression of X-Y recombination, differentiation of the nascent non-recombining regions, and progressive autosomal addition and attrition of the sex chromosomes. Recent results indicate that the event marking the beginning of the differentiation between the extant X and Y chromosomes occurred about 300 million years ago.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nucleus of every human cell contains the full complement of the human genome, which consists of approximately 30,000 to 70,000 named and unnamed genes and many intergenic DNA sequences. The double-helical DNA molecule in a human cell, associated with special proteins, is highly compacted into 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes and an additional pair of sex chromosomes. The entire cellular DNA consists of approximately 3 billion base pairs, of which only 1% is thought to encode a functional protein or a polypeptide. Genetic information is expressed and regulated through a complex system of DNA transcription, RNA processing, RNA translation, and posttranslational and cotranslational modification of proteins. Advances in molecular biology techniques have allowed accurate and rapid characterization of DNA sequences as well as identification and quantification of cellular RNA and protein. Global analytic methods and human genetic mapping are expected to accelerate the process of identification and localization of disease genes. In this second part of an educational series in medical genomics, selected principles and methods in molecular biology are recapped, with the intent to prepare the reader for forthcoming articles with a more direct focus on aspects of the subject matter.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings 09/2002; 77(8):785-808. DOI:10.4065/77.8.785 · 6.26 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The sex chromosome constitution of the silkworm, Bombyx mori, is ZW in the female and ZZ in the male. Very little molecular information is available about the Z chromosome in Lepidoptera, although the topic is interesting because of the absence of gene dosage compensation in this chromosome. We constructed a 320-kb BAC contig around the Bmkettin gene on the Z chromosome in Bombyx and determined its nucleotide sequence by the shotgun method. We found 13 novel protein-coding sequences in addition to Bmkettin. All the transposable elements detected in the region were truncated, and no LTR retrotransposons were found, in stark contrast to the situation on the W chromosome. In this 320-kb region, four genes for muscle proteins (Bmkettin, Bmtitin1, Bmtitin2, and Bmprojectin) are clustered, together with another gene (Bmmiple) on the Z chromosome in B. mori; their orthologs are also closely linked on chromosome 3 in Drosophila, suggesting a partial synteny. Real-time RT-PCR experiments demonstrated that transcripts of 13 genes of the 14 Z-linked genes found accumulated in larger amounts in males than in female moths, indicating the absence of gene dosage compensation. The implications of these findings for the evolution and function of the Z chromosome in Lepidoptera are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genomics is the study of the structure and function of the human genome including genes and their surrounding DNA sequences. The over 3 billion base pairs of the human genome have now been sequenced and approximately 25,000 genes acknowledged. However, only 1% of the entire genome has been assigned to protein coding and decades more work is anticipated to define the functional relevance of noncoding DNA as well as the basis and consequences of sequence variations among individuals. For medical scientists, the focus remains on discovering both disease-causing and disease-susceptibility genes. For pharmaceutical companies, the opportunity to develop molecularly targeted therapy is not going unnoticed. For the practicing physician, the prospect of genomic medicine that incorporates molecular diagnosis and pathogenesis-targeted therapy requires basic understanding of terminology and concepts in molecular biology and the corresponding laboratory tests.
Seminars in Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia 01/2007; 10(4):282-90. DOI:10.1177/1089253206294343
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