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Int. J. Cancer, 101, 137- 145

Combined karyotyping, CGH and m-FISH analysis allows detailed characterization of unidentified chromosomal rearrangements in Merkel cell carcinoma

M. Van Gele, J.H. Leonard, N. Van Roy, H. Van Limbergen, S. Van Belle, V. Cocquyt, H. Salwen, A. De Paepe, F. Speleman

Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare aggressive neuroendocrine tumor of the skin. Cytogenetic studies have indicated that deletions and unbalanced translocations involving chromosome 1 short arm material occur in 40% of the investigated cases. Recurrent chromosomal imbalances detected by comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis were loss of 3p, 10q, 13q and 17p and gains of 1q, 3q, 5p and 8q. In order to study genomic aberrations occurring in MCC in further detail, we combined karyotyping, CGH and multiplex-fluorescence in situ hybridization (M-FISH), a strategy that proved to be successful in the analysis of other malignancies. Analysis of 6 MCC cell lines and 1 MCC tumor revealed mostly near-diploid karyotypes with an average of 5 chromosomal rearrangements. The observed karyotypic changes were heterogeneous, with 3-27 breakpoints per case, leading to imbalance of the involved chromosomal regions that was confirmed by CGH. Chromosomal rearrangements involving the short arm of chromosome 1, the long arm of chromosome 3 and gain of 5p material were the most frequently observed abnormalities in our study. In keeping with previous observations, this series of MCCs showed no evidence for high-level amplification. We provid a detailed description of chromosomal translocations occurring in MCC that could be useful to direct future intensive investigation of these chromosomal regions.

Am J Hum Genet, 71, 1051- 1059

The DNA-based structure of human chromosome 5 in interphase

J. Lemke, J. Claussen, S. Michel, I. Chudoba, P. Mühlig, M. Westermann, K. Sperling, N. Rúbtsov, U.-W. Grummt, P. Ullmann, K. Kromeyer-Hauschil, T. Liehr, U. Claussen

In contrast to those of metaphase chromosomes, the shape, length, and architecture of human interphase chromosomes are not well understood. This is mainly due to technical problems in the visualization of interphase chromosomes in total and of their substructures. We analyzed the structure of chromosomes in interphase nuclei through use of high-resolution multicolor banding (MCB), which paints the total shape of chromosomes and creates a DNA-mediated, chromosome-region–specific, pseudocolored banding pattern at high resolution. A microdissection-derived human chromosome 5–specific MCB probe mixture was hybridized to human lymphocyte interphase nuclei harvested for routine chromosome analysis, as well as to interphase nuclei from HeLa cells arrested at different phases of the cell cycle. The length of the axis of interphase chromosome 5 was determined, and the shape and MCB pattern were compared with those of metaphase chromosomes. We show that, in lymphocytes, the length of the axis of interphase chromosome 5 is comparable to that of a metaphase chromosome at 600-band resolution. Consequently, the concept of chromosome condensation during mitosis has to be reassessed. In addition, chromosome 5 in interphase is not as straight as metaphase chromosomes, being bent and/or folded. The shape and banding pattern of interphase chromosome 5 of lymphocytes and HeLa cells are similar to those of the corresponding metaphase chromosomes at all stages of the cell cycle. The MCB pattern also allows the detection and characterization of chromosome aberrations. This may be of fundamental importance in establishing chromosome analyses in nondividing cells.

Cancer Genet. Cytogenet., 138, 153- 156

Cryptic t(X;18), ins(6;18), and SYT-SSX2 gene fusion in a case of intraneural monophasic synovial sarcoma

V.S. Lestou, J.X. O'Connell, M. Robichaud, C. Salski, J. Mathers, J. Maguire, I. Chudoba, P.H.B. Sorensen, W. Lam, D.E. Horsman

A 54-year-old male presented with a spontaneous peroneal nerve palsy and a diagnosis of monophasic synovial sarcoma (SS) was rendered by histologic examination. Cytogenetic analysis revealed a complex abnormal karyotype without evidence of the typical t(X;18)(p11;q11) associated with SS. Subsequent reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis showed the presence of an SYT/SSX2 fusion transcript, confirming the presence of a cyptic t(X;18). In light of -X, -18 and marker chromosomes evident in the G-band karyotype, it was suspected that a cryptic chromosomal rearrangement involving the marker chromosomes would harbor an X;18 fusion. Multi-colored karytotyping (M-FISH) revealed a previously unrecognized t(X;18) and t(5;19) in the marker chromosomes as well as unrecognized ins(6;18) and t(16;20). The addition of M-FISH analysis in this case led to the identification of complex inter-chromosomal rearrangements, thus providing an accurate karyotype.

Leukemia, 16, 344- 351

Molecular cytogenetic analysis of 10/11 rearrangements in acute myeolid leukemia.

H. Van Limbergen, B. Poppe, A. Janssens, R. De Bock, A. De Paepe, L. Noens, F. Speleman

MLLT10 (previously called AF10) is a moderately common MLL fusion partner predominantly occurring in acute monoblastic leukemia (AML-M5). 10;11 rearrangements require at least three breaks in order to generate an in-frame MLL-MLLT10 fusion as a result of the opposite orientations of both genes on the respective chromosome arms. In this study, we describe a detailed molecular cytogenetic analysis of MLL-MLLT10 positive 10;11 rearrangements in two patients. We observed an as yet unreported chromosomal mechanism with at least four breakpoints, leading to MLL-MLLT10 gene fusion in a 24-year-old male. An inversion of 11q13-q23 with a breakpoint in the MLL gene was followed by an additional break 3' of MLL prior to insertion of the 11q segment into MLLT10. In a second patient, a 37-year-old male with AML-M5b, molecular cytogenetic analysis of an apparent 10;11 reciprocal translocation showed an intrachromosomal inversion of 3'MLLT10followed by a reciprocal translocation between 10p12 and 11q23. Review of the literature showed that all cases were the result of an inversion of either 10p or 11q followed by translocation 10p;11q or insertion of the inverted segment into MLLT10 or MLL.

Genes Chromosomes Cancer, 35, 204- 218

Reciprocal translocations in breast tumor cell lines: cloning of a t(3;20) that targets the FHIT gene

C. Popovici, C. Basset, F. Bertucci, B. Orsetti, J. Adélaide, M.-J. Mozziconacci, N. Conte, A. Murati, C. Ginestier, E. Charafe-Jauffret, S.P. Ethier, M. Lafage-Pochitalof, C. Theillet, D. Birnbaum, M. Chaffanet

All molecular alterations that lead to breast cancer are not precisely known. We are evaluating the frequency and consequences of reciprocal translocations in breast cancer. We surveyed 15 mammary cell lines by multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (M-FISH). We identified nine apparently reciprocal translocations. Using mBanding FISH and FISH with selected YAC clones, we identified the breakpoints for four of them, and cloned the t(3;20)(p14;p11) found in the BrCa-MZ-02 cell line. We found that the breakpoint targets the potential tumor-suppressor gene FHIT (fragile histidine triad) in the FRA3B region; it is accompanied by homozygous deletion of exon 5 of the gene and absence of functional FHIT and fusion transcripts, which leads to the loss of FHIT protein expression. Additional experiments using comparative genomic hybridization provided further information on the genomic context in which the t(3;20)(p14;p11) reciprocal translocation was found.

Leukemia, 15, 275- 277

Unequivocal identification of disseminated tumor cells in the bone marrow by combining immunological and genetic approaches–functional and prognostic information.

P.F. Ambros, G. Méhes, C. Hattinger, I.M. Ambros, A. Luegmayr, R. Ladenstein, H. Gadner

The detection and quantification of disseminated tumor cells (DTC) present in the bone marrow (BM), peripheral blood (PB) and apheresis products (AP) are becoming increasingly significant in the treatment of cancer patients. Three different applications are implemented in the clinical practice of pediatric and adult solid tumor patients: (1) the identification of tumor cells in the BM and PB at diagnosis; (2) the response of occult tumor cells to high-dose chemotherapy; and (3) the presence of tumor cells in the autograft. In solid tumors the clinical significance of DTCs at diagnosis or during the course of the disease, usually termed minimal residual disease (MRD) testing, is still under debate. These indistinct results are mainly due to methodical reasons. Therefore, a fully automated system (RCDetect/metafer) combining the detection of 'tumor-specific' immunological features together with 'tumor-typical' DNA aberrations has been developed allowing the unambiguous visualization of tumor cells in a hematopoietic surrounding.

Hum Genet, 108, 478- 483

Improved definition of chromosomal breakpoints using high-resolution multicolour banding

J. Lemke, I. Chudoba, G. Senger, M. Stumm, I.F. Loncarevic, C. Henry, B. Zabel, U. Claussen

<p>Characterisation of chromosome rearrangements using conventional banding techniques often fails to determine the localisation of breakpoints precisely. In order to improve the definition of chromosomal breakpoints, the high-resolution multicolour banding (MCB) technique was applied to identify human chromosome 5 breakpoints from 40 clinical cases previously assessed by conventional banding techniques. In 30 cases (75%), at least one breakpoint was redefined, indicating that MCB markedly improves chromosomal breakpoint localisation. The MCB pattern is highly reproducible and, in contrast to conventional banding pattern, is consistent in both short and elongated chromosomes. This might be of fundamental interest for the detection of chromosomal abnormalities, especially in tumour cells. Moreover, MCB even allows the detection of abnormalities that remain cryptic in GTG-banding analysis.</p>

Genes, Chromosomes & Cancer, 30, 274- 282

Molecular cytogenetic and clinical findings in ETV6/ABL1-positive leukemia

H. Van Limbergen, H.B. Beverloo, van Drunen, E., A. Janssens, K. Hählen, B. Poppe, N. Van Roy, P. Marynen, de Paepe, A., R. Slater, F. Speleman

Rearrangements of 12p, resulting from deletions or translocations, are common findings in hematologic malignancies. In many cases, these rearrangements target the ETV6 gene (previously called TEL) located at 12p13. Various partner genes have been implicated in the formation of fusion genes with ETV6. These include PDGFRB, JAK2, NTRK3, ABL2, and ABL1, each of which encodes for proteins with tyrosine kinase activity. To date, ETV6/ABL1 transcripts have been detected in only four patients with a leukemic disorder. Here, we describe one adult with chronic myeloid leukemia and a child with T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia with ETV6/ABL1. Molecular cytogenetic analysis confirmed that formation of an ETV6/ABL1 fusion in these patients required at least three chromosomal breaks and showed that each of these translocations is the result of a complex chromosomal rearrangement. Molecular analysis showed the presence of two fusion transcripts in both patients as the result of alternative splicing, questioning the suggested role of these transcripts in the lineage specificity. Clinical findings of these patients were compared to those of previously reported cases, and the possible clinical and biological similarities between ETV6/ABL1 and other fusion genes leading to increased tyrosine kinase activity are discussed.

Medical and Pediatric Oncology, 36, 205- 209

Automatic detection and genetic profiling of disseminated neuroblastoma cells.

G. Méhes, A. Luegmayr, C.M. Hattinger, T. Lörch, I.M. Ambros, H. Gadner, P.F. Ambros

BACKGROUND: Rare tumor cells circulating in the hematopoietic system can escape identification. On the other hand, the nature of these cells, positive for an immunologiCal tumor marker, cannot be determined without any genetic information. PROCEDURE: To overcome these problems a novel computer assisted scanning system for automatic cell search, analysis, and sequential repositioning was developed. This system allows an exact quantitative analysis of rare tumor cells in the bone marrow and peripheral blood by sequential immunological and molecular cytogenetic characterization. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: In that virtually all tumor cells in a mixing experiment could be recovered unambiguously, we can conclude that the sensitivity of this approach is set by the number of cells available for analysis. Sequential FISH analyses of immunologically positive cells improve both the specificity and the sensitivity of the microscopic minimal residual disease detection.

Medical and Pediatric Oncology, 36, 205- 209

Automatic detection and genetic profiling of disseminated neuroblastoma cells

G. Méhes, A. Luegmayr, C.M. Hattinger, T. Lörch, I.M. Ambros, H. Gadner, P.F. Ambros

BACKGROUND: Rare tumor cells circulating in the hematopoietic system can escape identification. On the other hand, the nature of these cells, positive for an immunologiCal tumor marker, cannot be determined without any genetic information. PROCEDURE: To overcome these problems a novel computer assisted scanning system for automatic cell search, analysis, and sequential repositioning was developed. This system allows an exact quantitative analysis of rare tumor cells in the bone marrow and peripheral blood by sequential immunological and molecular cytogenetic characterization. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: In that virtually all tumor cells in a mixing experiment could be recovered unambiguously, we can conclude that the sensitivity of this approach is set by the number of cells available for analysis. Sequential FISH analyses of immunologically positive cells improve both the specificity and the sensitivity of the microscopic minimal residual disease detection.

Cytogenet. Cell Genet., 93, 242- 248

Reconstruction of the female Gorilla gorilla karyotype using 25-color FISH and multicolor banding (MCB)

K. Mrasek, A. Heller, N. Rubtsov, V. Trifonov, H. Starke, M. Rocchi, U. Claussen, T. Liehr

<p>The origin of the human and great ape chromosomes has been studied by comparative chromosome banding analysis and, more recently, by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), using human whole-chromosome painting probes. It is not always possible, however, to determine the exact breakpoints and distribution or orientation of specific DNA regions using these techniques. To overcome this problem, the recently developed multicolor banding (MCB) probe set for all human chromosomes was applied in the present study to reanalyze the chromosomes of Gorilla gorilla (GGO). While the results agree with those of most previous banding and FISH studies, the breakpoints for the pericentric inversion on GGO 3 were defined more precisely. Moreover, no paracentric inversion was found on GGO 14, and no pericentric inversions could be demonstrated on GGO 16 or 17.</p>

Int. J. Oncol., 16, 1099- 1105

Delimiting the use of comparative genomic hybridization in human myeloid neoplastic disorders

E. Gebhart, I. Verdorfer, W. Saul, U. Trautmann, L. Brecevic

Hematopoietic disorders can be used as a suitable tool of additional information on the actual resolving power of comparative genomic hybridization (CGH). Therefore, CGH examination was performed of DNA extracted from 23 acute and 15 chronic myeloproliferative disorders which had just been analyzed using classical cytogenetic techniques. In nearly all cases CGH analysis was repeated with reversely labeled probes. A Zeiss axioplan microscope was equipped with the ISIS 3 system for photometric evaluation of the CGH data. A main group was selected of 34 cases showing karyotypic mosaics when routinely diagnosed by classical cytogenetics. The grade of mosaicism was basically determined from the classical cytogenetic analysis and was additionally defined examining target anomalies by I-FISH analysis in 28 of the cases. The second group included 23 cases with deletions, and in 1 case another informative genomic imbalance could be analyzed. Every target anomaly irrespective of its type could be detected in all cases with an affected cell population equalling or exceeding about 25%, but in none was it below 23%. This value was the lowest and was found in a case, with CGH-detected 20q deletion. The smallest deletions of two bands on 20q which could visually be detected by CGH were estimated in the range of 5-7 Mb. CGH was also suitable to detect imbalances which were not clearly detected by routine cytogenetics. Reverse labelling, performed in nearly all cases, confirmed the result of the original CGH analysis. These data not only document the readiness and reliability of CGH studies on human leukemia, but also further contribute to a clearer definition of the limits of the resolving power of this technique.

Genes, Chromososmes & Cancer, 28, 329- 336

Chromosomal regions involved in the pathogenesis of osteosarcomas.

C. Stock, L. Kager, F.-M. Fink, H. Gadner, P.F. Ambros

The comparative genomic hybridization technique (CGH) was used to identify common chromosomal imbalances in osteosarcomas (OS), which frequently display complex karyotypic changes. We analyzed 13 high-grade primary tumors, 5 corresponding cell lines, 2 primary tumors grade 2, and 1 recurrent tumor from a total of 16 patients. Some of the CGH results have been verified by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) studies. Gains of chromosomal material were more frequent than losses. Most common gains were observed at 8q (11 cases), 4q (9 cases), 7q (8 cases), 5p (7 cases), and 1p (8 cases). The smallest regions of overlap have been narrowed down to 8q23 (10 cases), 4q12-13 (8 cases), 5p13-14 (7 cases), 7q31-32 (7 cases), 8q21 (7 cases), and 4q28-31 (5 cases). These data demonstrate that a number of chromosomal regions and even two distinct loci on 4q and 8q are involved in the pathogenesis of OS, with gain of 4q12-13 chromosomal material representing a newly identified locus. Seven of 16 cases displayed, besides gain of 8q23 sequences, gain of MYC copies in CGH and FISH. Previous CGH reports confined gain of 8q material to 8cen-q13, 8q21.3-8q22, and 8q23-qter, whereas our data suggest that the loci 8q21 and 8q23-24 are affected in the development of OS. In contrast to recent reports, copy number increases at 8q and 1q21 did not have an unfavorable impact on prognosis in the present series. Genes Chromosomes Cancer 28:329-336, 2000.

J. Cell Biol., 151, 95- 106

Meiotic telomere protein Ndj1p is required for meiosis-specific telomere distribution, bouquet formation and efficient homologue pairing

E. Trelles-Sticken, M.E. Dresser, H. Scherthan

We have investigated the requirements for NDJ1 in meiotic telomere redistribution and clustering in synchronized cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. On induction of wild-type meiosis, telomeres disperse from premeiotic aggregates over the nuclear periphery, and then cluster near the spindle pole body (bouquet arrangement) before dispersing again. In ndj1Δ meiocytes, telomeres are scattered throughout the nucleus and fail to form perinuclear meiosis-specific distribution patterns, suggesting that Ndj1p may function to tether meiotic telomeres to the nuclear periphery. Since ndj1Δ meiocytes fail to cluster their telomeres at any prophase stage, Ndj1p is the first protein shown to be required for bouquet formation in a synaptic organism. Analysis of homologue pairing by two-color fluorescence in situ hybridization with cosmid probes to regions on III, IX, and XI revealed that disruption of bouquet formation is associated with a significant delay (>2 h) of homologue pairing. An increased and persistent fraction of ndj1Δ meiocytes with Zip1p polycomplexes suggests that chromosome polarization is important for synapsis progression. Thus, our observations support the hypothesis that meiotic telomere clustering contributes to efficient homologue alignment and synaptic pairing. Under naturally occurring conditions, bouquet formation may allow for rapid sporulation and confer a selective advantage.

Human Genetics, 104, 315- 325

The structure and dynamics of ring chromosomes in human neoplastic and non-neoplastic cells

D. Gisselson, M. Höglund, F. Mertens, B. Johansson, P. Dal Cin, den Berghe, H. Van, W. C. Earnshaw, F. Mitelman, N. Mandahl

Acquired ring chromosomes have been found in most types of human neoplasia, with a frequency approaching 10% in malignant mesenchymal tumours. In this study, the composition and dynamics of ring chromosomes were analysed in eight cases of acute myelogenous leukaemia, 17 solid tumours, and five cases with constitutional rings. Chromosomal banding and fluorescence in situ hybridisation were performed to determine the content and the structural heterogeneity of the rings. Telomeric repeats were detected using peptide nucleic acid probes or primed in situ labelling, whereas centromeric activity was evaluated by detection of kinetochore proteins. Mitotic instability was assessed by the frequency of anaphase bridges. The results suggest that human ring chromosomes can be structurally and functionally divided into two categories. In the first of these, size variation is minimal and rearrangement at cell division is uncommon. The majority of such rings contain subtelomeric sequences. Constitutional ring chromosomes and most rings in leukaemias belong to this group, whereas only a few mesenchymal tumours exhibit rings of this type. The second category consists of rings with amplified sequences, primarily from chromosome 12, characteristically occurring in atypical lipomatous tumours and other subtypes of low or borderline malignant mesenchymal neoplasms. Variation in size and number is extensive, and breakage-fusion-bridge events occur at a high frequency. Abnormalities in pericentromeric sequences are common and, in some cases, kinetochores assemble in the absence of alphoid DNA. We conclude that it is not only the ring structure per se or the neoplastic nature of the host cell that determines ring instability, but probably also the functional role of the genes carried in the ring.

Pathology, 31, 337- 344

Oncogene Amplification in Medulloblastoma: Analysis of a Case by Comparative Genomic Hybridization and Fluorescence in situ Hybridization

V. Jay, J. Squire, J. Bayant, A.M. Alkhani, J.T. Rutka, M. Zielenska

<p>We describe amplification of the MYCC oncogene in a medulloblastoma with aggressive clinical behavior. The patient was a six year old boy who underwent gross total surgical excision of a cerebellar tumor. Despite chemotherapy and total neuraxis radiation, the clinical course was one of relentless progression, with extensive subarachnoid spread and death within eight months of presentation. The pathological features were consistent with the recently described, "large cell variant" of medulloblastoma. Tumor cells exhibited large vesicular nuclei, prominent nucleoli and strong immunoreactivity for synaptophysin. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay revealed no evidence of MYCN amplification or 1p deletion in the tumor. FISH analysis revealed evidence of MYCC amplification in the 20- to 30-fold range. Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) revealed regions of gains and amplification in three locations, with gains of chromosome 7, amplification of 8q24 (corresponding to the MYCC locus) and gains of the long arm of chromosome 17 (suggestive of isochromosome 17q). While conventional karyotypic analysis was not successful in the present case, CGH provided invaluable information about gene amplification and losses/gains of chromosomes and chromosomal regions. Thus, CGH is a powerful technique applicable to frozen or paraffin-embedded material which helps to ascertain the presence of gene amplification even without prior knowledge of the gene to be tested.</p>

Genes Chromosomes Cancer, 21, 1- 4

Minimal Sizes of Deletions Detected by Comperative Genomic Hybridization

M. Bentz, A. Plesch, S. Stigenbauer, H. Döhner, P. Lichter

<p>Comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) has been used widely for the molecular cytogenetic analysis of tumors. Until now, the spatial resolution of this technique for diagnosing deletions of chromosomal sequences has not been assessed in detail. In the present study, we performed CGH analyses on five DNA samples derived from B-cell leukemias with 11q deletions, the sizes of which ranged from 3 Mbp to 14-18 Mbp. CGH experiments were evaluated by two established commercial analysis systems. Deletions down to a size of 10-12 Mbp were diagnosed based on a diagnostic threshold value of 0.8, if the vast majority of cells carried the deletion. For cases with smaller deletions, the ratio profiles were shifted toward underrepresentation at the respective chromosomal bands; however, the diagnostic threshold value was not reached. In all five cases, there was complete agreement between the two image analysis systems.</p>

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 95, 167- 171

Creation of monosomic derivatives of human cultured cell lines

D.J. Clarke, J.F. Giménez-Abián, H. Tönnies, H. Neitzel, K. Sperling, C.S. Downes, R.T. Johnson

Monosomic mammalian cell lines would be ideal for studying gene dosage effects, including gene imprinting, and for systematic isolation of recessive somatic mutants parallel to the invaluable mutants derived from haploid yeast. But autosomal monosomies are lethal in early development; although monosomies appear in tumors, deriving cell lines from these tumors is difficult and cannot provide several syngenic lines. We have developed a strategy for generating stable monosomic human cells, based on random autosomal integration of the gpt plasmid, partial inhibition of DNA topoisomerase II during mitosis to promote chromatid nondisjunction, and selection against retention of gpt. These are likely to be valuable as a source of otherwise inaccessible mutants. The strategy can also be used to generate partial mammalian monosomies, which are desirable as a source of information on recessive genes and gene imprinting.

PNAS, 95, 8147- 8152

Evolution of the avia sex chromosomes from an anchestral pair of autosomes

A.-K. Fridolfsson, H. Cheng, N.G. Copeland, N.A. Jenkins, H.-C. Liu, T. Raudsepp, T. Woodage, B. Chowdhary, J. Halverson, H. Ellegren

Among the mechanisms whereby sex is determined in animals, chromosomal sex determination is found in a wide variety of distant taxa. The widespread but not ubiquitous occurrence, not even within lineages, of chromosomal sex determination suggests that sex chromosomes have evolved independently several times during animal radiation, but firm evidence for this is lacking. The most favored model for this process is gradual differentiation of ancestral pairs of autosomes. As known for mammals, sex chromosomes may have a very ancient origin, and it has even been speculated that the sex chromosomes of mammals and birds would share a common chromosomal ancestry. In this study we showed that the two genes, ATP5A1 and CHD1, so far assigned to the female-specific W chromosome of birds both exist in a very closely related copy on the Z chromosome but are not pseudoautosomal. This indicates a common ancestry of the two sex chromosomes, consistent with the evolution from a pair of autosomes. Comparative mapping demonstrates, however, that ATP5A1 and CHD1 are not sex-linked among eutherian mammals; this is also not the case for the majority of other genes so far assigned to the avian Z chromosome. Our results suggest that the evolution of sex chromosomes has occurred independently in mammals and birds.