Analysis of SINE and LINE repeat content of Y chromosomes in the platypus, Ornithorhynchus anatinus


Monotremes feature an extraordinary sex-chromosome system that consists of five X and five Y chromosomes in males. These sex chromosomes share homology with bird sex chromosomes but no homology with the therian X. The genome of a female platypus was recently completed, providing unique insights into sequence and gene content of autosomes and X chromosomes, but no Y-specific sequence has so far been analysed. Here we report the isolation, sequencing and analysis of ~700 kb of sequence of the non-recombining regions of Y2, Y3 and Y5, which revealed differences in base composition and repeat content between autosomes and sex chromosomes, and within the sex chromosomes themselves. This provides the first insights into repeat content of Y chromosomes in platypus, which overall show similar patterns of repeat composition to Y chromosomes in other species. Interestingly, we also observed differences between the various Y chromosomes, and in combination with timing and activity patterns we provide an approach that can be used to examine the evolutionary history of the platypus sex-chromosome chain.

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 21:964-975