PLOS has a new paper out which fleshes out how SRY might play a critical role in sex determination in mammals. Here is the press release. Below the fold I’ve taken figure 7 from their paper and cropped and reedited it a bit for ease of viewing, as well as adding minor parenthetical remarks (e.g., I assume most readers know the common symbol for repression in molecular genetic models, but some might not). Molecular genetics really isn’t my thing, but it is good to know if we are interested in the phenotypic impact of a particular locus (e.g., SRY) the particular genotypic dynamics that underlay it.1 Also, I’ve reviewd the sex determination literature in mammals recently (which was smaller than I’d expected), and it did surprise me that females were not just the “default” pathways as I’d expected, there is active suppression of the development of the Mullerian ducts in male embryos.
1 – The reason it isn’t my thing is that some molecular genetics people seem to only give a perfunctory nod to evolutionary thought in their fixation on specific processes. That’s fine, but it seems tome that Theodosius Dobzhanksy’s assertion that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution could be modified to biology is more fun if you add an evolutionary angle to your thinking. See Genes in Conflict. I mean that’s what science is supposed to be about, right? Having fun on the NSF and NIH’s dime 🙂