Sex in dragons -- reversal stable

Posted in Pogona Research on Feb 26, 2022

A combination of chromosomal sex determination and temperature-induced sex reversal appears to be evolutionarily stable based on evidence from an extensive field study of the central bearded dragon in central Queensland. Read more about it in a paper, led by Kris Wild, that came out today in Molecular Ecology.

PhD opportunities -- sex in dragons

Posted in Pogona Research on Feb 26, 2022

The University of Canberra is calling for expressions of interest from prospective PhD candidates to undertake ARC-funded research in the exciting area of epigenetic regulation of sex determination.

Sex in Dragons -- role for chromosomal conformation?

Posted in Pogona Research on Jan 17, 2022

Reptiles have an extraordinary variety of mechanisms to determine sex. In an article that appeared in PNAS this week, we propose that altered configuration of the repeat-laden W chromosome affects the conformation of the primary transcript of a candidate sex determining gene to generate more diverse and potentially inhibitory W-borne isoforms that suppress testis determination. Epigenetics rules.

Epigenetics of the Dragon

Posted in Pogona Research on Dec 15, 2021

Great to see that the antibodies for a range of sex related proteins developed for mammals work in our model species, the dragon lizard. Our article, led by Sarah Whiteley and as a collaboration between the QIMR Berghofer Institute for Medical Research, appeared today in the journal Biology of Reproduction.

Microchromosomes central players in vertebrate evolution

Posted in Pogona Research on Oct 31, 2021

Unlike mammals, most birds and reptiles (birds are reptiles after all) have a series of very small microchromosomes in addition to larger macrochromosomes. In a paper that appeared this week in PNAS, we show remarkable conservatism in the homology among microchromosomes dating back to Amphioxus. This work shows how we are all the product of our history, and not just recent evolutionary history, but with a signature in our genome organization that goes back to the pre-vertebrate days of an Amphioxus-like ancestor.

Sex reversal provides new insight to being female

Posted in Pogona Research on Apr 14, 2021

In our recent study reported in PLoS Genetics, we take the unique opportunity to compare gene regulation in the embryonic gonads of the Bearded Dragon with sex determined by chromosomes with that of embryonic gonads where female sex is determined by environmental temperature. This provides a window within which to examine how the cell senses environmental temperature then transduces via ubiquitous signalling pathways to direct the epigenetic processes that govern sex determination.

Alpine lizards reverse sex as it becomes cooler

Posted in Pogona Research on Feb 01, 2021

The alpine skink has XX/XY chromosomes like us, but unlike us the females can be converted to males in the egg by low temperatures. In a paper that appeared today in Heredity, Dumie Dissanayake shows that the frequency of sex reversal varies along an elevational gradient, and that the resultant sex ratio skew will potentially drive the loss of the Y chromosome at the highest elevations. Interesting stuff. https://rdcu.be/ceziZ.

The Hidden Sex Life of the Jacky Dragon

Posted in Pogona Research on Jan 20, 2021

Sex in dragons can be a complicated affair. In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (Proceedings B), IAE PhD student Sarah Whiteley and her colleagues present some tantalizing evidence that the TSD Jacky Dragon has an underlying predisposition to be one sex or the other, a predisposition that is over-ridden at extreme incubation temperatures.

Waking the sleeping dragon

Posted in Pogona Research on Jun 17, 2019

Those of you watching *The Desolation of Smaug* closely might have been surprised to see how quickly Smaug arose from his slumber when disturbed by Bilbo the Burglar. How is it that dragons can arouse so quickly if disturbed during hibernation? We might have the answer in our latest paper in BMC Genomics.

Feral Cat takes NiƱa

Posted in Pogona Research on Nov 28, 2018

A recent incident involving a feral cat and one of our treasured dragon lizards near Cunnamulla in western Queensland serves to highlight the impact feral cats are having on the Australian environment. PhD students Kris Wild and Phil Pearson tell the story.

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