Most pleurodont lizard families (anoles, iguanas and their relatives), with the exception of the basilisks and casquehead lizards (family Corytophanidae), share homologous XX/XY sex chromosomes, syntenic with chicken chromosome 15. Here, we used a suite of methods (i.e. RADseq, RNAseq and qPCR) to identify corytophanid sex chromosomes for the first time. We reveal that all examined corytophanid species have partially degenerated XX/XY sex chromosomes, syntenic with chicken chromosome 17. Transcriptomic analyses showed that the expression of X-linked genes in the corytophanid, Basiliscus vittatus, is not balanced between the sexes, which is rather exceptional under male heterogamety, and unlike the dosage-balanced sex chromosomes in other well-studied XX/XY systems, including the green anole, Anolis carolinensis. Corytophanid sex chromosomes may represent a rare example of a turnover away from stable, differentiated sex chromosomes. However, because of poor phylogenetic resolution among pleurodont families, we cannot reject the alternative hypothesis that corytophanid sex chromosomes evolved independently from an unknown ancestral system.
Nielsen, Stuart V.; Guzmán-Méndez, Irán Andira; Gamble, Tony; Blumer, Madison; Pinto, Brendan J.; Kratochvíl, Lukáš; and Rovatsos, Michail, "Escaping the Evolutionary Trap? Sex Chromosome Turnover in Basilisks and Related Lizards (Corytophanidae: Squamata)" (2019). Biological Sciences Faculty Research and Publications. 881.
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