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Aberrant Chromosomal Sex-Determining Mechanisms in Mammals, with Special Reference to Species with XY Females [and Discussion]

K. Fredga , M. G. Bulmer


Both mouse and man have the common XX/XY sex chromosome mechanism. The X chromosome is of original size (5-6% of female haploid set) and the Y is one of the smallest chromosomes of the complement. But there are species, belonging to a variety of orders, with composite sex chromosomes and multiple sex chromosome systems: XX/XY<latex>$_1$</latex>Y<latex>$_2$</latex> and X<latex>$_1$</latex>X<latex>$_1$</latex>X<latex>$_2$</latex>X<latex>$_2$</latex>/X<latex>$_1$</latex>X<latex>$_2$</latex>Y. The original X or the Y, Respectively, have been translocated on to an autosome. The sex chromosomes of these species segregate regularly at meiosis; two kinds of sperm and one kind of egg are produced and the sex ratio is the normal 1:1. Individuals with deviating sex chromosome constitutions (XXY, XYY, XO or XXX) have been found in at least 16 mammalian species other than man. The phenotypic manifestations of these deviating constitutions are briefly discussed. In the dog, pig, goat and mouse exceptional XX males and in the horse XY females attract attention. Certain rodents have complicated mechanisms for sex determination: Ellobius lutescens and Tokudaia osimensis have XO males and females. Both sexes of Microtus oregoni are gonosomic mosaics (male OY/XY, female XX/XO). The Wood lemming, Myopus schisticolor, the collared lemming, Dicrostonyx torquatus, and perhaps also one or two species of the genus Akodon have XX and XY females and XY males. The XX, X* X and X* Y females of Myopus and Dicrostonyx are discussed in some detail. The wood lemming has proved to be a favourable natural model for studies in sex determination, because a large variety of sex chromosome aneuploids are born relatively frequently. The dosage model for sex determination is not supported by the wood lemming data. For male development, genes on both the X and the Y Chromosomes are necessary.

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