(Phys.org) Males and females… Mars and Venus… XY and XX chromosomes, all are common memes. At the same time, the evolution of therian (placental and marsupial) sex chromosomes is less widely understood. More to the point, these arose some 150 million years ago from a pair of autosomes, or non-sex chromosomes. Having appeared, the X and Y chromosomes – both with the same ancestral genes – began diverging, with the Y chromosome evolving into a state in which (except for two small autosomal regions) it never recombines. As a result, the Y chromosome has degenerated, losing most of its genes in the process. On the other hand, the X chromosome does recombine, retains many ancestral genes – and has gained new genes, and evolved new expression patterns, as well. The increased imbalance of X/Y chromosomal loci led to the emergence of loci-specific X chromosome inactivation, which has been seen as compensating for differential gene dosage (the number of copies of a given gene present in a cell or nucleus) by making expression of X-linked genes similar in males and females.