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Blanche Capel: Sex Determination, Sex Hormones & Chromosomes, Development & the Evolution of Sex

About the Guest: Blanche Capel, PhD is a cell & developmental biologist. Her lab at Duke University studies the biological mechanisms of sex determination across different animal species.

Episode Summary: Nick Jikomes talks to Dr. Blanche Capel about the nature of sexual reproduction and sexual dimorphism, including when these these things evolved, the evolutionary reasons for sexual reproduction, and the amazing diversity of mechanisms that determine the development of sexual traits across the animal kingdom; the contribution of genetic vs. environmental factors in sex determination, and how these vary across species; sex chromosomes, such as the X and Y chromosomes of humans and other mammals; sex hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen; as well as how gametes and gonads develop - these are the sex cells, such as sperm or egg, and the reproductive organs that produce them and the major sex hormones that shape sexual development; what we know, and don’t know, about the biology of puberty and sexual development after birth, as well as whether environmental factors, such as components of the diet an environmental contaminants, could be influencing sexual development.

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