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Sex Determination: A Hypothesis Based on Noncoding DNA

H. Sharat Chandra
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 82, No. 4 (Feb. 15, 1985), pp. 1165-1169
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25185
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Sex Determination: A Hypothesis Based on Noncoding DNA
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Abstract

Certain recent models of sex determination in mammals, Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans, and snakes are examined in the light of the hypothesis that the relevant genetic regulatory mechanisms are similar and interrelated. The proposed key element in each of these instances is a noncoding DNA sequence, which serves as a high-affinity binding site for a repressor-like molecule regulating the activity of a major ``sex-determining'' gene. On this basis it is argued that, in several eukaryotes, (i) certain DNA sequences that are sex-determining are noncoding, in the sense that they are not the structural genes of a sex-determining protein; (ii) in some species these noncoding sequences are present in one sex and absent in the other, while in others their copy number or accessibility to regulatory molecules is significantly unequal between the two sexes; and (iii) this inequality determines whether the embryo develops into a male or a female.

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