In many reptiles, like mammals, chromosomes determine sex. In others, the temperature at which their eggs are incubated determines sex. This new project aims to discover the master sex-determining gene in a reptile, which will be a first, and how that gene is differentially regulated in males and females and by temperature.
The team also plans to identify evolutionary drivers of transitions between genetic and environmental sex determination by studying how temperature reverses chromosomal sex determination in dragon lizards. This could show how climatic extremes affect the biology of therma;lly sensitive reptiles, and understand their vulnerability to climate change.