Developmental asynchrony and antagonism of sex determination pathways in a lizard with temperature-induced sex reversal

Sarah L. Whiteley, Vera Weisbecker, Arthur Georges, Arnault Roger Gaston Gauthier, Darryl L. Whitehead, Clare E. Holleley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Vertebrate sex differentiation follows a conserved suite of developmental events: the bipotential gonads differentiate and shortly thereafter sex specific traits become dimorphic. However, this may not apply to squamates, a diverse vertebrate lineage comprising of many species with thermosensitive sexual development. Of the three species with data on the relative timing of gonad differentiation and genital dimorphism, the females of two (Niveoscincus ocellatus and Barisia imbricata) exhibit a phase of temporary pseudohermaphroditism or TPH (gonads have differentiated well before genital dimorphism). We report a third example of TPH in Pogona vitticeps, an agamid with temperature-induced male to female sex reversal. These findings suggest that for female squamates, genital and gonad development may not be closely synchronised, so that TPH may be common. We further observed a high frequency of ovotestes, a usually rare gonadal phenotype characterised by a mix of male and female structures, exclusively associated with temperature-induced sex reversal. We propose that ovotestes are evidence of a period of antagonism between male and female sex-determining pathways during sex reversal. Female sexual development in squamates is considerably more complex than has been appreciated, providing numerous avenues for future exploration of the genetic and hormonal cues that govern sexual development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14892
Number of pages9
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

Keywords

  • Vitticeps
  • Ovotestis
  • Gonadal Differentiation
  • Niveoscincus Ocellatus
  • Sexual Development

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Developmental asynchrony and antagonism of sex determination pathways in a lizard with temperature-induced sex reversal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this