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.
"It's a major advance," said physiologist and geneticist linkurl:Art Arnold;http://www.physci.ucla.edu/html/arnold.htm 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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