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The human Y chromosome: function, evolution and disease.

The human Y chromosome is strictly paternally inherited and, in most of its length, does not recombine during male meiosis. These features make the Y a very useful genetic marker for different purposes. In the last decade, the Y has been increasingly used to investigate the evolution, migrations and range expansions of modern humans. The possibility to construct highly informative Y chromosome haplotypes has also had a significant impact in forensic studies and paternity testing. All these studies assume that the Y chromosome markers used are selectively neutral. However, recent experimental and statistical analyses suggest that both positive and negative selection are acting on the Y chromosome and, consequently, may influence Y chromosome haplotype distribution in the general population. Current data suggest that the effects of selection on patterns of Y chromosome distribution are minimal, however as interest focuses on biological functions of the Y chromosome which have a major impact on male fitness such as fertility, these assumptions may be challenged. This review briefly describes the genes and biological functions of the human Y chromosome and its use in disentangling the origin and history of human populations. An overview of the role of selection acting on the Y chromosome from the perspective of human population histories and disease is given.[1]

References

  1. The human Y chromosome: function, evolution and disease. Quintana-Murci, L., Krausz, C., McElreavey, K. Forensic Sci. Int. (2001) [Pubmed]
 
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