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Sex determination: insights from the chicken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Craig A Smith
  • Andrew H Sinclair

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-32
Number of pages13
JournalBioEssays
Volume26
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004

Abstract

Not all vertebrates share the familiar system of XX:XY sex determination seen in mammals. In the chicken and other birds, sex is determined by a ZZ:ZW sex chromosome system. Gonadal development in the chicken has provided insights into the molecular genetics of vertebrate sex determination and how it has evolved. Such comparative studies show that vertebrate sex-determining pathways comprise both conserved and divergent elements. The chicken embryo resembles lower vertebrates in that estrogens play a central role in gonadal sex differentiation. However, several genes shown to be critical for mammalian sex determination are also expressed in the chicken, but their expression patterns differ, indicating functional plasticity. While the genetic trigger for sex determination in birds remains unknown, some promising candidate genes have recently emerged. The Z-linked gene, DMRT1, supports the Z-dosage model of avian sex determination. Two novel W-linked genes, ASW and FET1, represent candidate female determinants.

    Research areas

  • Animals, Anti-Mullerian Hormone, Avian Proteins, Chickens, Estrogens, Female, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Glycoproteins, Gonads, Male, Phylogeny, Sex Chromosomes, Sex Determination Processes, Sex Differentiation, Testicular Hormones, Transcription Factors

ID: 13098936