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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2007, Article ID 43070, 8 pages
Research Article

Frequency of Cancer Genes on the Chicken Z Chromosome and Its Human Homologues: Implications for Sex Chromosome Evolution

1Comparative Genomics Group, Research School of Biological Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra ACT 0200, Australia
2Department of Human Genetics, University of Ulm, Ulm 89070, Germany

Received 31 May 2006; Revised 27 October 2006; Accepted 19 November 2006

Academic Editor: Peter Little

Copyright © 2007 Rami Stiglec 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.


It has been suggested that there are special evolutionary forces that act on sex chromosomes. Hemizygosity of the X chromosome in male mammals has led to selection for male-advantage genes, and against genes posing extreme risks of tumor development. A similar bias against cancer genes should also apply to the Z chromosome that is present as a single copy in female birds. Using comparative database analysis, we found that there was no significant underrepresentation of cancer genes on the chicken Z, nor on the Z-orthologous regions of human chromosomes 5 and 9. This result does not support the hypothesis that genes involved in cancer are selected against on the sex chromosomes.