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A New Hypothesis On the Evolution of Sex Determination in Vertebrates; Big Females Zw, Big Males Xy

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Why are there two chromosomal sex-determining mechanisms in vertebrates; ZW/ZZ, meaning female heterogamety, and XX/XY, meaning male heterogamety? We propose an evolutionary explanation. Transition from environmental sex determination to genetic sex determination can result when an allele that accelerates embryonal or larval growth takes over the role of environment in bringing about differential growth. Species with environmental sex determination showing female size advantage, are predisposed to evolve the ZW/ZZ mechanism, whereas species with male size advantage are predisposed to evolve the XX/XY mechanism.

Affiliations: 1: ( Zoological Laboratory, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 14, 9750 AA Haren, The Netherlands; 2: Institute of Taxonomic Zoology, (Zoological Museum), P.O. Box 4766, 1009 A T Amsterdam, The Netherlands


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