Sex-Links and the W Chromosome

Ignored by Male Researchers for a Century, We are Finally Learning About the Importance of the Female Chromosomee

Sex-Links and the W Chromosome
For years, sex-linkage in fowl has been a well-known and fairly well-understood fact. All birds have a “ZZ/ZW” sex- chromosome system. That is, males have two Z sex chromosomes in their genetic make-up, or genome, and females have one Z and one W sex chromosome in their genetic make-up, or genome. Sex-linkage in fowl has been understood since 1910, thanks to researchers William Bateson and Reginald Punnett, who did extensive work on feather-barring and published their findings that year. They determined that a number of traits are controlled by genes that are attached directly to the Z or “male” chromosome. In many cases, this theory is correct, and has been substantiated by our current systems of gene and chromosome mapping 100 years later. One theory about the whole picture is changing, and changing in a major way. For many years it was assumed that the W chromosome, or the “female”

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