Action of sex steroid hormones on temperature-induced sex determination in the snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

Academic Article


  • Administration of exogenous estradiol benzoate (EB) or an estrogen agonist, R2858, into eggs of snapping turtles caused all embryos incubated at male-producing temperatures to develop as females, whereas testosterone propionate (TP) caused 42% of the embryos to develop as females. Some of the embryos treated with EB, R2858, or TP also had hypertrophied oviducts. Neither dihydrotestosterone (DHT) nor cholesterol had any apparent effect on the sex determination of embryos incubated at male-producing temperatures. Injections of TP, DHT, the androgen agonist R1881, or cholesterol had no apparent effect on sex determination of embryos incubated at female-producing temperatures. Administration of estradiol antiserum or testosterone antiserum resulted in some individuals having undifferentiated or ambiguous gonads. Although both exogenous estrogens and androgens can induce embryonic gonads to develop as ovaries, the findings of this study indicate that estrogen is the female-inducing hormone and that androgens may feminize gonads via aromatization to estrogen. Furthermore, the results of the antisera injections suggest that endogenous steroid hormones may have a natural role in gonadal differentiation of reptiles with environmental sex determination. © 1989.
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    Author List

  • Crews D; Wibbels T; Gutzke WHN
  • Start Page

  • 159
  • End Page

  • 166
  • Volume

  • 76
  • Issue

  • 1