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Researchers from McMaster University have discovered striking variation in the underlying genetic machinery that orchestrates sexual differentiation in frogs, demonstrating that evolution of this crucial biological system has moved at a dramatic pace.
A team of biologists examined more than two dozen species of Pipidae, a family of frog found in tropical South America and sub-Saharan Africa, which includes African clawed frogs, a smooth-skinned frog with webbed feet and claws on the hind legs.
Techniques - Gene - Development - Dm-w - Species
They used modern techniques to study a gene known to trigger female development, dm-w, in over 20 species, each of which have both males and females, and requires sexual reproduction to breed.
Researchers discovered that the genes governing sexual selection differed radically across species.
Differentiation - Context - Ben - Evans - Author
"Sexual differentiation is fundamentally important in an evolutionary context," says Ben Evans, lead author of the study and a professor of biology at McMaster University.
"Once you have a system that works so well, one might expect that natural selection would...
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