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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Genetic aspects of H-Y antigen.

While it remains to be clarified what detection of H-Y antigen by current methods means, the existence of a factor governing testicular differentiation of the indifferent gonadal anlage seems to be well established. There are various kinds of evidence that H-Y antigen as a biologically meaningful factor has a complex genetical basis. There is the contribution of the Y chromosome which, independent of the number of other chromosomes, especially of X chromosomes, leads to a male phenotype. The X chromosome must be involved also because structural aberrations of its distal short arm influence the expression of the H-Y structural gene. Due to examples of autosomal inheritance of various forms of sex reversal, an autosomal gene is assumed to be involved as well. Arguments are presented favoring the assumption that the structural H-Y gene is autosomal, while genes on the X and Y chromosomes have a controlling function. This genetic control mechanism for H-Y antigen seems to have evolved secondary to placentation in mammals. In non-mammalian vertebrates, H-Y antigen is controlled by other factors, e.g. steroid hormones. While the functional role of H-Y antigen in directing differentiation of the heterogametic gonad appears to have been preserved during evolution, the mechanism of its control has changed. This latter mechanism is only poorly understood.[1]


  1. Genetic aspects of H-Y antigen. Wolf, U. Hum. Genet. (1981) [Pubmed]
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