Offspring sex is not related to maternal allocation of yolk steroids in the lizard Bassiana duperreyi (Scincidae)

Rajkumar Radder, Sinan Ali, Richard Shine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
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The eggs of birds and reptiles contain detectable levels of several steroid hormones, and experimental application of such steroids can reverse genetically determined sex of the offspring. However, any causal influence of maternally derived yolk steroids on sex determination in birds and reptiles remains controversial. We measured yolk hormones (dihydrotestosterone, testosterone, and 17 β-estradiol) in newly laid eggs of the montane scincid lizard Bassiana duperreyi. This species is well suited to such an analysis because (1) offspring sex is influenced by incubation temperatures and egg size as well as by sex chromosomes, suggesting that yolk hormones might somehow be involved in the complex pathways of sex determination, and (2) experimental application of either estradiol or fadrozole to such eggs strongly influences offspring sex. We obtained yolk by biopsy, before incubating the eggs at a temperature that produces a 50:50 sex ratio. Yolk steroid levels varied over a threefold range between eggs from different clutches, but there were no significant differences in yolk steroids, or in relative composition of steroids, between eggs destined to become male versus female. Further, yolk steroid concentrations were not significantly related to egg size. Thus, yolk steroid hormones do not appear to play a critical role in sex determination for B. duperreyi.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-227
Number of pages8
JournalPhysiological and Biochemical Zoology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007

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