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Using an immunohistochemical approach to identify the sex of marine turtles

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Date Issued:
2015
Abstract/Description:
Marine turtles exhibit temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD). During critical periods of embryonic development, the nest’s thermal environment directs whether an embryo will develop as a male or a female. At warmer sand temperatures the nest tends to produce female-biased sex ratios. The rapid increase of global temperature highlights the need for a clear assessment of effects on sea turtle sex ratios. However, identifying hatchling sex ratios at rookeries remain coarse estimates due to the lack of any external gender markers. We rely mainly upon laparoscopic procedures to verify a hatchling sex; however, in some species, morphological sex can be ambiguous even at the histological level. Recent studies using immunohistochemical techniques identified that red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta) embryos over-expressed a particular cold-induced RNA binding protein in the ovaries in comparison to the testes. This principle allows the distinction between females and males. We developed a variation of this technique and successfully identified the sexes of loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) hatchlings, as confirmed by standard histological and laparoscopic methods that reliably identifies the sex in this species. Next, we tested a more challenging species, the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), which retains many neotenic features. The morphology of leatherback hatchling gonads remains difficult to interpret, particularly when dead-in-nest hatchlings and embryos are the source tissues. In summary, this new and more efficient technique enhances our ability to investigate and identify baseline hatchling sex ratios, a critical progression in assessing global climate change on sea turtle populations.
Title: Using an immunohistochemical approach to identify the sex of marine turtles.
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Name(s): Tezak, Boris
Wyneken, Jeanette
Graduate College
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Poster
Date Created: 2015
Date Issued: 2015
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 1 p.
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Marine turtles exhibit temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD). During critical periods of embryonic development, the nest’s thermal environment directs whether an embryo will develop as a male or a female. At warmer sand temperatures the nest tends to produce female-biased sex ratios. The rapid increase of global temperature highlights the need for a clear assessment of effects on sea turtle sex ratios. However, identifying hatchling sex ratios at rookeries remain coarse estimates due to the lack of any external gender markers. We rely mainly upon laparoscopic procedures to verify a hatchling sex; however, in some species, morphological sex can be ambiguous even at the histological level. Recent studies using immunohistochemical techniques identified that red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta) embryos over-expressed a particular cold-induced RNA binding protein in the ovaries in comparison to the testes. This principle allows the distinction between females and males. We developed a variation of this technique and successfully identified the sexes of loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) hatchlings, as confirmed by standard histological and laparoscopic methods that reliably identifies the sex in this species. Next, we tested a more challenging species, the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), which retains many neotenic features. The morphology of leatherback hatchling gonads remains difficult to interpret, particularly when dead-in-nest hatchlings and embryos are the source tissues. In summary, this new and more efficient technique enhances our ability to investigate and identify baseline hatchling sex ratios, a critical progression in assessing global climate change on sea turtle populations.
Identifier: FA00005915 (IID)
Collection: FAU Student Research Digital Collection
Note(s): The Sixth Annual Graduate Research Day was organized by Florida Atlantic University’s Graduate Student Association. Graduate students from FAU Colleges present abstracts of original research and posters in a competition for monetary prizes, awards, and recognition.
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Sublocation: Digital Library
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fau/fd/FA00005915
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Host Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.