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GALLERY: Y Chromosome Disappearing

Recombination between the X and Y chromosomes proved harmful—it resulted in males without necessary genes formerly found on the Y chromosome, and females with unnecessary or even harmful genes previously only found on the Y chromosome. As a result, genes beneficial to males accumulated near the sex-determining genes, and recombination in this region was suppressed in order to preserve this male specific region. Over time, the Y chromosome changed in such a way as to inhibit the areas around the sex determining genes from recombining at all with the X chromosome. As a result of this process, 95% of the human Y chromosome is unable to recombine. Only the tips of the Y and X chromosomes recombine. The tips of the Y chromosome that could recombine with the X chromosome are referred to as the pseudoautosomal region. The rest of the Y chromosome is passed on to the next generation intact. It is because of this disregard for the rules that the Y chromosome is such a superb tool for investigating recent human evolution.

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Darren Griffin has current collaborative grants with JSR Genetics and Topigs Norsvin. Including BBSRC and Innovate UK funding. Enhancing oocyte quality to improve assisted reproduction in peri-pubertal pigs and cattle (BBSRC) - About to start. £335,000 Technology Strategy Board (BBSRC - Inovate UK). Pig IVF and genetics: A route to global sustainability.

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