The sex chromosomes in Sauropsida (reptiles and birds) have evolved independently many times. They show astonishing diversity in morphology ranging from cryptic to highly differentiated sex chromosomes with male (XX/XY) and female heterogamety (ZZ/ZW). Comparing such diverse sex chromosome systems thus provides unparalleled opportunities to capture evolution of morphologically differentiated sex chromosomes in action. Here, we describe chromosomal mapping of 18 microsatellite repeat motifs in eight species of Sauropsida. More than two microsatellite repeat motifs were amplified on the sex-specific chromosome, W or Y, in five species (Bassiana duperreyi, Aprasia parapulchella, Notechis scutatus, Chelodina longicollis, and Gallus gallus) of which the sex-specific chromosomes were heteromorphic and heterochromatic. Motifs (AAGG)n and (ATCC)n were amplified on the W chromosome of Pogona vitticeps and the Y chromosome of Emydura macquarii, respectively. By contrast, no motifs were amplified on the W chromosome of Christinus marmoratus, which is not much differentiated from the Z chromosome. Taken together with previously published studies, our results suggest that the amplification of microsatellite repeats is tightly associated with the differentiation and heterochromatinization of sex-specific chromosomes in sauropsids as well as in other taxa. Although some motifs were common between the sex-specific chromosomes of multiple species, no correlation was observed between this commonality and the species phylogeny. Furthermore, comparative analysis of sex chromosome homology and chromosomal distribution of microsatellite repeats between two closely related chelid turtles, C. longicollis and E. macquarii, identified different ancestry and differentiation history. These suggest multiple evolutions of sex chromosomes in the Sauropsida.
MATSUBARA, K., GEORGES, A., SARRE, S., Graves, J., Matsuda, Y., & EZAZ, T. (2016). Amplification of microsatellite repeat motifs is associated with the evolutionary differentiation and heterochromatinization of sex chromosomes in Sauropsida. Chromosoma, 125(1), 111-123. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00412-015-0531-z