Lack of age-related mosaic loss of W chromosome in long-lived birds

Nancy Trujillo, Mónica Martínez-Pacheco, Cecilia Soldatini, Sergio Ancona, Rebecca C. Young, Yuri V. Albores-Barajas, Alberto H. Orta, Cristina Rodríguez, Tamas Székely, Hugh Drummond, Araxi O. Urrutia, Diego Cortez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


Females and males often exhibit different survival in nature, and it has been hypothesized that sex chromosomes may play a role in driving differential survival rates. For instance, the Y chromosome in mammals and the W chromosome in birds are often degenerated, with reduced numbers of genes, and loss of the Y chromosome in old men is associated with shorter life expectancy. However, mosaic loss of sex chromosomes has not been investigated in any non-human species. Here, we tested whether mosaic loss of the W chromosome (LOW) occurs with ageing in wild birds as a natural consequence of cellular senescence. Using loci-specific PCR and a target sequencing approach we estimated LOW in both young and adult individuals of two long-lived bird species and showed that the copy number of W chromosomes remains constant across age groups. Our results suggest that LOW is not a consequence of cellular ageing in birds. We concluded that the inheritance of the W chromosome in birds, unlike the Y chromosome in mammals, is more stable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20210553
Number of pages1
JournalBiology letters
Issue number2
Early online date23 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2022


  • Ageing
  • Fregata magnificens
  • Sula nebouxii
  • mosaic loss of chromosome W

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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