Age of Sex-Determining Mechanisms in Vertebrates

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Science  14 Aug 1959:
Vol. 130, Issue 3372, pp. 372-375
DOI: 10.1126/science.130.3372.372


Certain characteristic patterns of physiologic sex determination are not causally linked with types of genic and chromosomal constitution (XX-XY or ZW-ZZ). The observed widespread but not universal parallelism in the distribution of genetic and physiologic patterns among vertebrate groups expresses genealogic relationship. On the basis of this interpretation one may estimate the approximate evolutionary age of the mechanism of genetic sex determination. It is concluded that in all tetrapod vertebrates these mechanisms originated during the Jurassic period. Environmental conditions seem to affect the progress of this evolution.