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.
- Fregata magnificens
- Sula nebouxii
- mosaic loss of chromosome W
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)