Document Type




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American Genetic Association

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Journal of Heredity

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Squamate reptiles (lizards, snakes, and amphibians) are an outstanding group for studying sex chromosome evolution—they are old, speciose, geographically widespread, and exhibit myriad sex-determining modes. Yet, the vast majority of squamate species lack heteromorphic sex chromosomes. Cataloging the sex chromosome systems of species lacking easily identifiable, heteromorphic sex chromosomes, therefore, is essential before we are to fully understand the evolution of vertebrate sex chromosomes. Here, we use restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) to classify the sex chromosome system of the granite night lizard, Xantusia henshawi. RADseq is an effective alternative to traditional cytogenetic methods for determining a species’ sex chromosome system (i.e., XX/XY or ZZ/ZW), particularly in taxa with non-differentiated sex chromosomes. Although many xantusiid lineages have been karyotyped, none possess heteromorphic sex chromosomes. We identified a ZZ/ZW sex chromosome system in X. henshawi—the first such data for this family. Furthermore, we report that the X. henshawi sex chromosome contains fragments of genes found on Gallus gallus chromosomes 7, 12, and 18 (which are homologous to Anolis carolinensis chromosome 2), the first vertebrate sex chromosomes to utilize this linkage group.


Accepted version. Journal of Heredity, Vol. 111, No. 3 (May 2020): 307-313. DOI. © 2020 The American Genetic Association. Used with permission.

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