Researchers have cracked the long-time mystery of how sex is determined in birds: A dose-dependent effect of a single gene on one of the sex chromosomes does the trick, according to a study published this week in Nature.
Image: Wikimedia commons, linkurl:HerbertT;
"It's a major advance," said physiologist and geneticist linkurl:Art Arnold; of the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the work. "This is convincing evidence that this is how sex is determined in birds. And that's been long-sought evidence." When sex is determined genetically, there are two possible mechanisms of sexual differentiation, Arnold explained. The sex chromosome unique to one sex may contain some sex-determining factor, as in the case of the male Y-chromosome in mammals. Alternatively, there could be a dose effect of a gene on the shared chromosome which causes embryos with two copies of the gene to develop differently from those...

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