Synergism between temperature and estradiol: A common pathway in turtle sex determination?

Academic Article


  • In many reptiles, the temperature at which the eggs are incubated determines the sex of the hatchlings. Administration of estradiol will counteract the masculinizing effects of a male‐producing temperature, resulting in female hatchlings. To address whether temperature and estrogen are biologically equivalent, two experiments were conducted with the red‐eared slider turtle, Trachemys scripta. In the first experiment, varying dosages of estrogen were administered at Stage 17 (the middle of the temperature‐sensitive window) to eggs maintained at two temperatures, 26°C (which normally produces all males) and 28.2°C (which produces mostly males but lies at the threshold of the transition from male‐ to female‐producing temperatures). Results indicate that estrogen and temperature exert a synergistic effect on sex determination. In the second experiment, estrogen was administered at different stages of embryonic development. The results indicate an estrogen‐sensitive period ranging from Stage 14 through Stage 21, a period similar to the temperature‐sensitive period for this species. The results of these experiments are consistent with the hypothesis that temperature and estradiol act in a common pathway in temperature‐dependent sex determination. Copyright © 1991 Wiley‐Liss, Inc., A Wiley Company
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wibbels T; Bull JJ; Crews D
  • Start Page

  • 130
  • End Page

  • 134
  • Volume

  • 260
  • Issue

  • 1