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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011, Article ID 132975, 6 pages
Review Article

Sex Chromosome Evolution in Amniotes: Applications for Bacterial Artificial Chromosome Libraries

1Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 26 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
2Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Iowa State University, 253 Bessey Hall, Ames, IA 50011, USA
3Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
4Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, 1201 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101-2795, USA

Received 29 July 2010; Accepted 27 September 2010

Academic Editor: Hans H. Cheng

Copyright © 2011 Daniel E. Janes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Variability among sex chromosome pairs in amniotes denotes a dynamic history. Since amniotes diverged from a common ancestor, their sex chromosome pairs and, more broadly, sex-determining mechanisms have changed reversibly and frequently. These changes have been studied and characterized through the use of many tools and experimental approaches but perhaps most effectively through applications for bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries. Individual BAC clones carry 100–200 kb of sequence from one individual of a target species that can be isolated by screening, mapped onto karyotypes, and sequenced. With these techniques, researchers have identified differences and similarities in sex chromosome content and organization across amniotes and have addressed hypotheses regarding the frequency and direction of past changes. Here, we review studies of sex chromosome evolution in amniotes and the ways in which the field of research has been affected by the advent of BAC libraries.