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Why is the Australian dragon so fascinating? Since they can change gender based on the temperature in the egg, they can offer insight into several aspects of environmental temperature impact, among much else. Press play to learn:

  • How temperature determines the sex
  • The function of epigenetic modifiers
  • How there can be more sex chromosomes than we initially thought possible

Jennifer A. Marshall Graves, a Distinguished Professor and Vice-Chancellors Fellow at La Trobe University, speaks about her research on Australian dragons and various other Australian animals’ sex determination.

Genes are the primary building blocks that determine all of the traits we acquire during gestation. However, for many species, external factors can play a significant role during incubation or gestation in determining the sex of animals like the Australian dragon.

Even in mammals, which we previously thought set in sex chromosomes, there can be bizarre differences between humans and the rest of the mammalian range. For example, in platypuses, their sex chromosomes may more closely resemble chickens than humans.

Search for Jennifer A. Marshall Graves in your engine of choice for many resources to further explore her work.

Episode also available on Apple Podcast: http://apple.co/30PvU9C

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