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Nature. 1987 Apr 2-8;326(6112):496-8.

Adaptive variation in environmental and genetic sex determination in a fish.


Two general mechanisms of sex determination have been identified among gonochoristic vertebrates: environmental sex determination where offspring become male or female in response to an environmental factor(s) during development (for example, some fishes and reptiles); and genetic sex determination where sex is determined by genotype at conception (as in birds and mammals). How do these sex-determining systems evolve? Direct evidence is virtually non-existent because the sex-determining systems of most species appear to have little genetic variation. Here we provide the first evidence of adaptive variation in environmental and genetic sex determination within a species. We show that in a fish with temperature-dependent sex determination, populations at different latitudes compensate for differences in thermal environment and seasonality by adjusting the response of sex ratio to temperature, and by altering the level of environmental as opposed to genetic control. The adjustments observed are precisely those predicted by adaptive sex ratio theory.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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