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Mother birds increase progesterone to hatch females

during the first meiosis is the mechanism in birds that manipulates the sex ratio of offspring," says Adkins-Regan.

"Researchers think that birds such as the Seychelles warbler may bias the sex of their offspring when, for example, their territory has plenty of food and the mother bird needs help in feeding the next generation," says Correa. Since males disperse, the mother bird may adaptively bias her offspring to female so that plenty of females from one generation will be available to help raise the next generation.

Although the finding is not of practical use in the near future for the poultry industry, Correa and Adkins-Regan say that understanding the basic mechanism of biasing sex ratios in birds could provide the foundation for learning how to manipulate the sex ratio of avian offspring in the future. Research in this area is just beginning, they note, because the molecular methods used to determine the sex of the eggs has only recently been made available.


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Contact: Susan S. Lang
ssl4@cornell.edu
607-255-3613
Cornell University News Service
17-May-2005


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