Natural selection on human Y chromosomes
Chuan-Chao Wang, Li Jin, Hui Li
(Submitted on 22 Oct 2013)
The paternally inherited Y chromosome has been widely used in population genetic studies to understand relationships among human populations. Our interpretation of Y chromosomal evidence about population history and genetics has rested on the assumption that all the Y chromosomal markers in the male-specific region (MSY) are selectively neutral. However, the very low diversity of Y chromosome has drawn a long debate about whether natural selection has affected this chromosome or not. In recent several years, the progress in Y chromosome sequencing has helped to address this dispute. Purifying selection has been detected in the X-degenerate genes of human Y chromosomes and positive selection might also have an influence in the evolution of testis-related genes in the ampliconic regions. Those new findings remind us to take the effect of natural selection into account when we use Y chromosome in population genetic studies.