Origin and domestication of papaya Yh chromosome. Academic Article uri icon


  • Sex in papaya is controlled by a pair of nascent sex chromosomes. Females are XX, and two slightly different Y chromosomes distinguish males (XY) and hermaphrodites (XY(h)). The hermaphrodite-specific region of the Y(h) chromosome (HSY) and its X chromosome counterpart were sequenced and analyzed previously. We now report the sequence of the entire male-specific region of the Y (MSY). We used a BAC-by-BAC approach to sequence the MSY and resequence the Y regions of 24 wild males and the Y(h) regions of 12 cultivated hermaphrodites. The MSY and HSY regions have highly similar gene content and structure, and only 0.4% sequence divergence. The MSY sequences from wild males include three distinct haplotypes, associated with the populations' geographic locations, but gene flow is detected for other genomic regions. The Y(h) sequence is highly similar to one Y haplotype (MSY3) found only in wild dioecious populations from the north Pacific region of Costa Rica. The low MSY3-Y(h) divergence supports the hypothesis that hermaphrodite papaya is a product of human domestication. We estimate that Y(h) arose only 4000 yr ago, well after crop plant domestication in Mesoamerica >6200 yr ago but coinciding with the rise of the Maya civilization. The Y(h) chromosome has lower nucleotide diversity than the Y, or the genome regions that are not fully sex-linked, consistent with a domestication bottleneck. The identification of the ancestral MSY3 haplotype will expedite investigation of the mutation leading to the domestication of the hermaphrodite Y(h) chromosome. In turn, this mutation should identify the gene that was affected by the carpel-suppressing mutation that was involved in the evolution of males.

published proceedings

  • Genome Res

altmetric score

  • 69.764

author list (cited authors)

  • VanBuren, R., Zeng, F., Chen, C., Zhang, J., Wai, C. M., Han, J., ... Ming, R.

citation count

  • 69

complete list of authors

  • VanBuren, Robert||Zeng, Fanchang||Chen, Cuixia||Zhang, Jisen||Wai, Ching Man||Han, Jennifer||Aryal, Rishi||Gschwend, Andrea R||Wang, Jianping||Na, Jong-Kuk||Huang, Lixian||Zhang, Lingmao||Miao, Wenjing||Gou, Jiqing||Arro, Jie||Guyot, Romain||Moore, Richard C||Wang, Ming-Li||Zee, Francis||Charlesworth, Deborah||Moore, Paul H||Yu, Qingyi||Ming, Ray

publication date

  • April 2015