The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change

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Sex chromosomes in African cichlid fishes



Quick facts

Project title: 
Drivers and dynamics of sex chromosome evolution in African cichlid fishes
ZFMK Project lead: 


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.


Contact person

Head of Section
+49 228 9122-365
+49 228 9122-212
A.Boehne [at]