Why are there so many ways to establish the sexual fate of the developing embryo?
It is fascinating that sexually-reproducing organisms employ such diversity of mechanisms to produce males and females, ranging from systems under strict genetic control (GSD) [such as highly dimorphic or undifferentiated sex chromosomes (XY, ZW)], to genetic systems susceptible to some environmental influences [such as haplo-dyploidy, polygenic systems, socially-induced sex reversals], to systems under strict environmental control dependent on biotic or abiotic factors. Among vertebrates, an environmental system dependent on temperature (TSD) is commonly found in reptiles and fish.
To explain this diversity we investigate the mechanics, evolutionary dynamics and ecological context of sex determination through a series of complementary projects.
Research on sex determination has important implications for our understanding of multiple traits and phenomena related to sexual reproduction, such as Sex Allocation and Sex Ratio Evolution, Sexual Dimorphism and Sex-linked Traits.