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G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics


Ohno’s hypothesis predicts that the expression of the single X chromosome in males needs compensatory upregulation to balance its dosage with that of the diploid autosomes. Additionally, X chromosome inactivation ensures that quadruple expression of the two X chromosomes is avoided in females. These mechanisms have been actively studied in mice and humans but lag behind in domestic species. Using RNA sequencing data, we analyzed the X chromosome upregulation in sheep fetal tissues from day 135 of gestation under control, over or restricted maternal diets (100%, 140% and 60% of National Research Council Total Digestible Nutrients), and in conceptuses, juvenile, and adult somatic tissues. By computing the mean expression ratio of all X-linked genes to all autosomal genes (X:A), we found that all samples displayed some levels of X chromosome upregulation. The degrees of X upregulation were not significant (P-value = 0.74) between ovine females and males in the same somatic tissues. Brain, however, displayed complete X upregulation. Interestingly, the male and female reproduction-related tissues exhibited divergent X dosage upregulation. Moreover, expression upregulation of the X chromosome in fetal tissues was not affected by maternal diets. Maternal nutrition, however, did change expression levels of several X-linked genes, such as sex determination genes SOX3 and NR0B1. In summary, our results showed that X chromosome upregulation occurred in nearly all sheep somatic tissues analyzed, thus support Ohno’s hypothesis in a new species. However, the levels of upregulation differed by different subgroups of genes such as those that are house-keeping and “dosage-sensitive”.


Copyright © 2019 by the Genetics Society of America doi:

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