Nature is an international, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal of science, and is the most-cited weekly science journal in the world.
Dan Warner, a researcher in the ecology, evolution and organismal biology department, has been working with the jacky dragon, a lizard found in Australia, to discover if egg incubation temperature and gender affects the viability of the lizards.
In mammals, gender is determined by the chromosomes an embryo inherits from the father -- Y dictates the offspring will be male, X means female. The mother always contributes an X chromosome.
In some species of reptiles, the gender of the offspring is determined by the temperature the embryos experience during development.
Warner’s research explored whether the temperatures at which the lizards were born was the best climate for each of the two genders.
“This was a hypothesis that was proposed in 1977,” said Warner. “But no one had conducted a complete experimental test of the hypothesis until now.”
Warner tracked males and females born at different temperatures and measured how well they reproduced. Because some temperatures only produce one gender, Warner had to reverse the sex of some of the embryos using hormones.
In the jacky dragon, males were born at around 77 to 86 degrees, while females were born at temperatures both above and below that range.
Warner found that jacky dragons, both male and female, thrive when they are born at the right temperatures for their gender.
“Males reproduce more when they are exposed to the right egg incubation temperatures for them, 25 to 30 degrees Celsius (77-86 F),” said Warner. “The same is true for females when born at their ideal temperatures.”
The study’s findings may have grave consequences for the species if temperatures increase in the parts of Australia where the jacky dragons call home.
“We may see a sex ratio shift towards one sex,” said Warner. “And that may threaten population viability.”
Warner also notes that species may have a way of adapting.
“The lizards may compensate by moving to cooler places, digging nests deeper in the sand or other ways to stay cooler,” said Warner.
Dan Warner | EurekAlert!
Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences