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Xy sex-determination system

The meaning of «xy sex-determination system»

The XY sex-determination system is the sex-determination system found in humans, most other mammals, some insects (Drosophila), some snakes, some fish (guppies), and some plants (Ginkgo tree). In this system, the sex of an individual is determined by a pair of sex chromosomes. Females typically have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (XX), and are called the homogametic sex. Males typically have two different kinds of sex chromosomes (XY), and are called the heterogametic sex.

In humans, the presence of the Y chromosome is responsible for triggering male development; in the absence of the Y chromosome, the fetus will undergo female development. More specifically, it is the SRY gene located on the Y chromosome that is of importance to male differentiation. Variations to the sex gene karyotype could include rare disorders such as XX males (often due to translocation of the SRY gene to the X chromosome) or XY gonadal dysgenesis in people who are externally female (due to mutations in the SRY gene). In addition, other rare genetic variations such as Turners (XO) and Klinefelters (XXY) are seen as well.

The XY system contrasts in several ways with the ZW sex-determination system found in birds, some insects, many reptiles, and various other animals, in which the heterogametic sex is female. It had been thought for several decades that in all snakes sex was determined by the ZW system, but there had been observations of unexpected effects in the genetics of species in the families Boidae and Pythonidae; for example, parthenogenic reproduction produced only females rather than males, which is the opposite of what is to be expected in the ZW system. In the early years of the 21st century such observations prompted research that demonstrated that all pythons and boas so far investigated definitely have the XY system of sex determination.[1][2]

A temperature-dependent sex determination system is found in some reptiles.

All animals have a set of DNA coding for genes present on chromosomes. In humans, most mammals, and some other species, two of the chromosomes, called the X chromosome and Y chromosome, code for sex. In these species, one or more genes are present on their Y chromosome that determine maleness. In this process, an X chromosome and a Y chromosome act to determine the sex of offspring, often due to genes located on the Y chromosome that code for maleness. Offspring have two sex chromosomes: an offspring with two X chromosomes will develop female characteristics, and an offspring with an X and a Y chromosome will develop male characteristics.

In humans, half of spermatozoa carry X chromosome and the other half Y chromosome.[3] A single gene (SRY) present on the Y chromosome acts as a signal to set the developmental pathway towards maleness. Presence of this gene starts off the process of virilization. This and other factors result in the sex differences in humans.[4] The cells in females, with two X chromosomes, undergo X-inactivation, in which one of the two X chromosomes is inactivated. The inactivated X chromosome remains within a cell as a Barr body.

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