The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change
is a research museum of the Leibniz Association
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The mechanisms of sex determination are diverse despite their unifying function in defining male and female sex within a species. They range from an array of environmental factors over different genetic sex determination systems to a complex interplay of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. These mechanisms are ultra-conserved in some organismal groups (e.g. all mammals share the same sex chromosomal system), however, in other groups even sister species vary in their way how sex is determined. This project focuses on the exploration of genetic sex determination or -in other words- the investigation of sex chromosomes in a model system of evolutionary biology, the African cichlid fishes. Within the Lake Tanganyika radiation of these fishes, we identified an outstandingly high rate of sex chromosome turnover, i.e. change in the actual chromosome used as sex chromosome. This project will investigate sex chromosome evolution in these fish using genomics and transcriptomics.