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J Exp Zool. 1998 Aug 1;281(5):409-16.

Temperature-dependent sex determination in the red-eared slider turtle, Trachemys scripta.

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Department of Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294-1170, USA.


Temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) in the red-eared slider turtle, Trachemys scripta, has been the subject of a variety of past studies. Incubation temperature appears to affect sex determination in a dose-dependent fashion. This suggests that temperature could be affecting a dosage-sensitive element in the sex-determination cascade. Sex determination in T. scripta is sensitive to estrogen, and data from many studies support the hypothesis that endogenous estrogen production may be involved in female sex determination. However, this hypothesis has not yet been evaluated through aromatase expression studies in this species. Several recent studies have cloned cDNAs for genes that could be involved in sex determination and/or sex differentiation. The cDNAs for SF-1 and MIS have been cloned in T. scripta, indicating that these may represent conserved elements in the sex-determination/sex-differentiation cascade of reptiles. The SOX9 cDNA also has been cloned in T. scripta (Spotila et al., '98), and it shows a sex-specific expression pattern. Future studies targeted at aromatase expression as well as the expression of factors such as SOX9, SF-1, and MIS will begin to provide a more comprehensive picture of the events involved in TSD in T. scripta. Further, such studies could help pinpoint the temperature-sensitive element(s).

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