Sex chromosome evolution in parasitic nematodes of humans

Jeremy M. Foster, Alexandra Grote, John Mattick, Alan Tracey, Yu Chih Tsai, Matthew Chung, James A. Cotton, Tyson A. Clark, Adam Geber, Nancy Holroyd, Jonas Korlach, Yichao Li, Silvia Libro, Sara Lustigman, Michelle L. Michalski, Michael Paulini, Matthew B. Rogers, Laura Teigen, Alan Twaddle, Lonnie WelchMatthew Berriman, Julie C. Dunning Hotopp, Elodie Ghedin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sex determination mechanisms often differ even between related species yet the evolution of sex chromosomes remains poorly understood in all but a few model organisms. Some nematodes such as Caenorhabditis elegans have an XO sex determination system while others, such as the filarial parasite Brugia malayi, have an XY mechanism. We present a complete B. malayi genome assembly and define Nigon elements shared with C. elegans, which we then map to the genomes of other filarial species and more distantly related nematodes. We find a remarkable plasticity in sex chromosome evolution with several distinct cases of neo-X and neo-Y formation, X-added regions, and conversion of autosomes to sex chromosomes from which we propose a model of chromosome evolution across different nematode clades. The phylum Nematoda offers a new and innovative system for gaining a deeper understanding of sex chromosome evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1964
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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