Sunday, 18 August 2019

New study could reset how scientists view sex determination in painted turtle populations


AUGUST 6, 2019

by Fred Love, Iowa State University
A new study from Iowa State University scientists could flip the established framework for how scientists believe geography influences sex determination in painted turtles on its shell.
The study, published Tuesday in the academic journal Functional Ecology, analyzed decades of data concerning painted turtles, a species widely distributed across North America that undergoes temperature-dependent sex determination. That means the temperatures experienced by an incubating painted turtle egg influence whether an embryo develops the physical characteristics biologists describe as male or female. Warmer temperatures tend to produce females, and cooler temperatures tend to produce males.
The study's findings defied theoretical expectations for how painted turtle populations respond to environmental variation, which could lead scientists to rethink how they look at the topic, said Anna Carter, a postdoctoral research associate in ecology, evolution and organismal biology and lead author.

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