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Journal of Experimental Biology

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sex determination, temperature fluctuation, gene expression, alternative splicing


Although physiological responses to the thermal environment are most frequently investigated using constant temperatures, the incorporation of thermal variability can allow for a more accurate prediction of how thermally sensitive species respond to a rapidly changing climate. In species with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), developmental responses to incubation temperature are mediated by several genes involved in gonadal differentiation. Kdm6b and Dmrt1 respond to cool incubation temperatures and are associated with testis development, while Foxl2 and Cyp19A1 respond to warm incubation temperatures and are associated with ovary development. Using fluctuating incubation temperatures, we designed two studies, one investigating how conflicting thermal cues affect the timing of commitment to gonadal development, and another investigating the rapid molecular responses to conflicting thermal cues in the red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta). Using gene expression as a proxy of timing of commitment to gonadal fate, results from the first study show that exposure to high amounts of conflicting thermal cues during development delays commitment to gonadal fate.

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This article was published Open Access thanks to an agreement between Milner Library and Company of Biologists.


This article was published in Journal of Experimental Biology,

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.


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