Y chromosomes often degenerate via the accumulation of pseudogenes and transposable elements. By contrast, little is known about X-chromosome degeneration. Here we compare the pseudogenization process between genes on the neo-sex chromosomes in Drosophila miranda and their autosomal orthologues in closely related species. The pseudogenization rate on the neo-X is much lower than the rate on the neo-Y, but appears to be higher than the rate on the orthologous autosome in D. pseudoobscura. Genes under less functional constraint and/or genes with male-biased expression tend to become pseudogenes on the neo-X, indicating the accumulation of slightly deleterious mutations and the feminization of the neo-X. We also find a weak trend that the genes with female-benefit/male-detriment effects identified in D. melanogaster are pseudogenized on the neo-X, implying the masculinization of the neo-X. These observations suggest that both X and Y chromosomes can degenerate due to a complex suite of evolutionary forces.
Nozawa, M., Onizuka, K., Fujimi, M., Ikeo, K., & Gojobori, T. (2016). Accelerated pseudogenization on the neo-X chromosome in Drosophila miranda. Nature Communications, 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms13659