Sex determination in repriles

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Alex Quinn, a Ph. Sex-determining mechanisms in reptiles are broadly divided into two main categories: genotypic sex determination GSD and temperature-dependent sex determination TSD. Species in the genotypic group, like mammals and birds, have sex chromosomes, which in reptiles come in two major types.

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We are only just starting to appreciate the full sexual diversity of animals. What we are learning is helping us understand evolution and how animals will cope with a changing world. In humans and other mammals, sex chromosomes the Xs and Ys determine physical sex.

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A Green turtle hatchling heads to sea in the northwest Hawaiian islands. In most species, gender is determined during fertilization. However, the sex of most turtlesalligators, and crocodiles is determined after fertilization. The temperature of the developing eggs is what decides whether the offspring will be male or female.

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Reproductive and Developmental Strategies pp Cite as. The TSD system is where sex is established by the incubation temperature during a critical stage of embryonic development. It has been almost a half century since the first TSD system was found in a lizard species.

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In most animals the sex of an individual is determined at the moment of fertilization; when the egg and the sperm fuse together it is fixed if that animal will be male or female. Yet in many reptilian groups sex determination is established later during incubation, and the determinant external factor is the incubation temperature of the eggs. In reptiles, this means that the environment plays a crucial role in determining the sex ratio emerging from an egg clutch, and that these animals are very susceptible to alterations in temperature caused, for example, by climate change.

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For humans, it may seem obvious that gender is controlled by genetics. Research shows that in sea turtles and crocodilians, males and females are genetically identical. Instead of a difference in chromosomes in boys and girls, the temperature at which eggs develop are involved in determining the gender of these young reptiles.

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In certain turtle species, the temperature of the egg determines whether the offspring is female or male. But now, new research shows that the embryos have some say in their own sexual destiny: they can move around inside the egg to find different temperatures. The study, publishing August 1 in the journal Current Biologyexamines how this behavior may help turtles offset the effects of climate change.

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Skip to search form Skip to main content. Temperature-dependent sex determination in reptiles: proximate mechanisms, ultimate outcomes, and practical applications. Skipper and Thane R.

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