Papaya sex chromosomes

Andrea R. Gschwend, Ray Ming

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Papaya is a semi - woody tree that produces fruit rich in vitamins and minerals. It is trioecious with male, female, and hermaphrodite plants. Though many theories have been suggested in the past, papaya sex is determined by a pair of nascent sex chromosomes; females have two X chromosomes, males have an X and a Y, and hermaphrodites have an X and a Yh, which varies slightly from the male Y. Any combination of the Y and Yh genotype, YY, Y Yh, or Yh Yh, is lethal. The X and Y chromosomes have a small non -recombining region in the centromeric and pericentromeric region. The hermaphrodite -specific region of the Yh chromosome (HSY) is gene poor and has an increased amount of retroelements and chromosomal rearrangements compared to its X counterpart and the genome wide average. The X and Y chromosomes were estimated to have diverged relatively recently about 2 - 3 million years ago (MYA), and even more so for the Y and Yh (73,000 years ago). Physical maps of the HSY and the corresponding X region have been produced and sequenced, showing the HSY sequence has expanded. Genes in these regions are being mined with a special focus on identifying the two sex determination genes, one promoting maleness and one suppressing femaleness. The impact of identifying the sex determination genes would be high for both the commercial production of papaya and the field of sex chromosome evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Insights on Plant Sex Chromosomes
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781614702368
StatePublished - Feb 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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