The chimp Y chromosome has now been fully sequenced, and the results are astounding.  A study in Nature reveals that the chimp Y chromosome is radically different than the human Y chromosome.[1]  The chimp’s Y chromosome has only two-thirds the number of distinct genes/gene families, and 47% of the protein coding regions compared to its human counterpart.  Furthermore, more than 30% of the entire chimp Y chromosome has no counterpart in humans.  Even those segments that do have counterparts in the human Y chromosome are often located in different regions of the chromosome. 

One the lead researchers, David Page, told Nature News that “it looks like there’s been a dramatic renovation or reinvention of the Y chromosome in the chimpanzee and human lineages.”[2]  Of course, this reinvention has to be explained in terms of common descent, so they speculate that the chimp Y chromosome experienced a loss of DNA, while humans experienced a gain.  The surprise of the scientists involved, however, demonstrates that this find is counter-intuitive to Darwinian expectations.

HT: Evolution News & Views

[1]Jennifer F. Hughes, David Page, et al, “Chimpanzee and human Y chromosomes are remarkably divergent in structure and gene content”; Nature 463, 536-539 (28 January 2010) | doi:10.1038/nature08700; Received 3 August 2009; Accepted 24 November 2009; Published online 13 January 2010; available from; Internet; accessed 30 April 2010.
[2]Lizzie Buchen, “The Fickle Y Chromosome”; available from; Internet; accessed 30 April 2010/