Patterns of evolution across vertebrate sex determining genes
In vertebrate species with separate sexes, there are two predominant forms of sex determination: genetic sex determination (GSD) and environmental sex determination (ESD). In this study, we are interested in understanding the evolution of the specific genes involved in sex-determination across vertebrates. These specific genes appear to be highly conserved across mammals as well as many non-mammalian species, including birds, frogs, and fishes. Our goal is to understand patterns of selection, both positive and purifying, in the genes involved in mammalian sex determination. We will compare rates of evolution across the homologs of each sex determining gene across the 100 vertebrates that currently have genome sequences available. We expect to observe different rates of purifying selection in these genes across vertebrates.