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Transitional range of temperature, pivotal temperatures and thermosensitive stages for sex determination in reptiles

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The function relating phenotypic sex ratio to incubation temperature in reptiles can vary in a number of ways in addition to simple differences in the temperatures giving 50% of each sex. This paper offers terminology and definitions for describing these relationships. These definitions accomodate interactions between genetic and environmental effects on sexual differentiation, and variability within populations. The paper also discusses the concept of a sensitive stage/period within incubation during which temperature can affect the direction of sexual differentiation. Thermosensitive period has previously been assessed in a variety of ways. A suggestion for a more general way of defining thermosensitive stage/period is made.

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Zoology and Psychology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A1; 2: Institut Jacques Monod, CNRS et Université Paris 7, 2 place Jussieu, 75251 Paris Cedex 05, France


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