The complete sequence and comparative analysis of ape sex chromosomes

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Makova, Kateryna D.; Pickett, Brandon D.; Harris, Robert S.; Hartley, Gabrielle A.; Cechova, Monika; Pal, Karol; Nurk, Sergey; Yoo, DongAhn; Li, Qiuhui; Hebbar, Prajna; McGrath, Barbara C.; Antonacci, Francesca; Aubel, Margaux; Biddanda, Arjun; Borchers, Matthew; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich; Bouffard, Gerard G.; Brooks, Shelise Y.; Carbone, Lucia; Carrel, Laura; Carroll, Andrew; Chang, Pi-Chuan; Chin, Chen-Shan; Cook, Daniel E.; Craig, Sarah J. C.; de Gennaro, Luciana; Diekhans, Mark; Dutra, Amalia; Garcia, Gage H.; Grady, Patrick G. S.; Green, Richard E.; Haddad, Diana; Hallast, Pille; Harvey, William T.; Hickey, Glenn; Hillis, David A.; Hoyt, Savannah J.; Jeong, Hyeonsoo; Kamali, Kaivan; Pond, Sergei L. Kosakovsky; LaPolice, Troy M.; Lee, Charles; Lewis, Alexandra P.; Loh, Yong-Hwee E.; Masterson, Patrick; McGarvey, Kelly M.; McCoy, Rajiv C.; Medvedev, Paul; Miga, Karen H.; Munson, Katherine M.; Pak, Evgenia; Paten, Benedict; Pinto, Brendan J.; Potapova, Tamara; Rhie, Arang; Rocha, Joana L.; Ryabov, Fedor; Ryder, Oliver A.; Sacco, Samuel; Shafin, Kishwar; Shepelev, Valery A.; Slon, Viviane; Solar, Steven J.; Storer, Jessica M.; Sudmant, Peter H.; Sweetalana; Sweeten, Alex; Tassia, Michael G.; Thibaud-Nissen, Françoise; Ventura, Mario; Wilson, Melissa A.; Young, Alice C.; Zeng, Huiqing; Zhang, Xinru; Szpiech, Zachary A.; Huber, Christian D.; Gerton, Jennifer L.; Yi, Soojin V.; Schatz, Michael C.; Alexandrov, Ivan A.; Koren, Sergey; O’Neill, Rachel J.; Eichler, Evan E.; Phillippy, Adam M.
Year of Publication: 2024
Journal: Nature
Date Published: 2024/05/29
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 1476-4687

Apes possess two sex chromosomes—the male-specific Y chromosome and the X chromosome, which is present in both males and females. The Y chromosome is crucial for male reproduction, with deletions being linked to infertility1. The X chromosome is vital for reproduction and cognition2. Variation in mating patterns and brain function among apes suggests corresponding differences in their sex chromosomes. However, owing to their repetitive nature and incomplete reference assemblies, ape sex chromosomes have been challenging to study. Here, using the methodology developed for the telomere-to-telomere (T2T) human genome, we produced gapless assemblies of the X and Y chromosomes for five great apes (bonobo (Pan paniscus), chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii)) and a lesser ape (the siamang gibbon (Symphalangus syndactylus)), and untangled the intricacies of their evolution. Compared with the X chromosomes, the ape Y chromosomes vary greatly in size and have low alignability and high levels of structural rearrangements—owing to the accumulation of lineage-specific ampliconic regions, palindromes, transposable elements and satellites. Many Y chromosome genes expand in multi-copy families and some evolve under purifying selection. Thus, the Y chromosome exhibits dynamic evolution, whereas the X chromosome is more stable. Mapping short-read sequencing data to these assemblies revealed diversity and selection patterns on sex chromosomes of more than 100 individual great apes. These reference assemblies are expected to inform human evolution and conservation genetics of non-human apes, all of which are endangered species.

Short Title: Nature