On the left is a HiC map. Each green square represents all the interactions taking place between DNA sequences on each chromosome. On the right is an image of mouse ovary section stained for germ-cell specific marker.

James Turner : Sex Chromosome Biology Laboratory

We are studying how sex chromosomes work and are investigating their impact on health, disease and fertility.

Male and female mammals are genetically and biologically different. Females have two X chromosomes, while males have one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. These sex chromosomes contain important genes involved in the development of the reproductive organs, body and brain, leading to differences in growth, behaviour and health between the sexes.

We are studying the sex chromosomes in a range of animals, including mammals and marsupials, to understand more about how sex chromosomes work and the roles of these genes in health and disease.

Because females have twice as many X chromosomes as males they have a double dose of all the genes on the X. To compensate, females ‘switch off’ one of their X chromosomes in every cell. This process, called X inactivation, happens very early on in development. Overall, sex chromosomes play an important role in infertility.

We want to find out more about how sex chromosome inactivation works and how it evolved in different species. And we will use this knowledge to understand the underlying genetic and molecular causes of infertility in humans and other animals.