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  • 1 Huazhong Agricultural University Key Lab of Agricultural Animal Genetics, Breeding and Reproduction of Ministry of Education Wuhan 430070 P. R. China
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In mammals, testis development is initiated by the expression of the sex-determining gene, SRY , where-as the genetic trigger for sex determination in birds remains unknown. In the present study, the expression of seven genes implicated in vertebrate sex determination and differentiation were studied in chicken embryonic gonads from day 4 to day 12 of incubation using reverse transcription and the polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results showed transcription of c Lhx9 , c GATA4 , c Vnn1 , c Ppt1 , c Brd3 were sexually dimorphic during chicken gonadal development, whereas c Eki2 , c Fog2 were expressed at similar levels in both sexes. Results of comparative studies between mammals and chickens show that vertebrate sex-determining pathways comprise both conserved and divergent elements: expression profiles of c GATA4 /c Fog2 and c Vnn1 are similar to those in mammals, while others appear some differences. Possible functions of these genes on chicken gonadal development were analyzed based on their expression profiles.

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