Enhanced adaptive evolution of sperm-expressed genes on the mammalian X chromosome
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Genes on the mammalian X chromosome may be under unique evolutionary pressure due to their hemizygous expression in males. Since any recessive deleterious mutation would immediately be expressed in males and, therefore, efficiently removed from the population, selective constraint could be more pronounced in X-linked genes. Conversely, if a recessive mutation were beneficial, its immediate exposure to selection would be advantageous, and would facilitate adaptive evolution. We tested for positive selection in a total of 86 genes using a maximum likelihood approach, including 40 sperm-expressed and 46 non-sperm, tissue-specific genes. We find evidence to suggest that X-linkage enhances the effects of positive selection in sperm-expressed genes in terms of the number of codons affected, and report a general trend for positively selected genes to reside on the X chromosome rather than on the autosomes. Our data suggest that hemizygous expression in males makes the X chromosome a preferred location for positively selected sperm genes that do not require postmeiotic transcription.
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