The Diversity of Plant Sex Chromosomes Highlighted through Advances in Genome Sequencing. Academic Article uri icon


  • For centuries, scientists have been intrigued by the origin of dioecy in plants, characterizing sex-specific development, uncovering cytological differences between the sexes, and developing theoretical models. Through the invention and continued improvements in genomic technologies, we have truly begun to unlock the genetic basis of dioecy in many species. Here we broadly review the advances in research on dioecy and sex chromosomes. We start by first discussing the early works that built the foundation for current studies and the advances in genome sequencing that have facilitated more-recent findings. We next discuss the analyses of sex chromosomes and sex-determination genes uncovered by genome sequencing. We synthesize these results to find some patterns are emerging, such as the role of duplications, the involvement of hormones in sex-determination, and support for the two-locus model for the origin of dioecy. Though across systems, there are also many novel insights into how sex chromosomes evolve, including different sex-determining genes and routes to suppressed recombination. We propose the future of research in plant sex chromosomes should involve interdisciplinary approaches, combining cutting-edge technologies with the classics to unravel the patterns that can be found across the hundreds of independent origins.

published proceedings

  • Genes (Basel)

altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Carey, S., Yu, Q., & Harkess, A.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Carey, Sarah||Yu, Qingyi||Harkess, Alex

publication date

  • March 2021


published in