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Research Paper

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Y chromosomes, X chromosomes, Primates


The primate X and Y chromosomes are believed to have diverged from a set of ancestral autosomes that over time accumulated enough genetic differences to make them mostly non- homologous. More specifically, since its appearance approximately 166 million years ago the Y- chromosomes has been plagued by a series of mutational deletions that has shortened its length dramatically (Warren et al., 2008). The evolution of the Y-chromosome and its degradation therefore has radically changed the active genes that were once present in common ancestors from those living today (Charlesworth, 2000). However, its massive erosion over time has become somewhat of a concern, as it leads to questions of whether or not the Y-chromosome is on the path to extinction. To answer this question, a detailed analysis on the historical divergence of the Y- chromosome, as well as an investigation on the evolutionary mechanisms molding the Y- chromosome is needed to determine whether or not the male sex is on the brink of extinction.


This paper was nominated for the Libraries Undergraduate Research Award by Merrill Peterson, faculty in Western Washington University’s Biology Department.





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