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Current >> Index >> Invited Speakers
Dr.Michael Clinton
The Roslin Institute
UK
Title: Regulation of the sexual phenotype in chickens

 

 

Biography
 
Michael Clinton is a developmental biologist with numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. His research group has extensive experience in the area of sex-determination in birds. Work carried out in Dr. Clinton’s group has helped to establish that similar genes regulate the structural and functional differentiation of the embryonic gonads in mammals and birds, and to establish that a homologue to the mammalian testis-determining gene, Sry, does not exist in birds. This group was the first to demonstrate that dosage compensation of Z-chromosome genes occurred in birds, over-turning an established dogma in the process (1). They were also the first to conclusively show that gynandromorph birds were chimeras composed of karyotypically normal male and female cells and answer the centuries-old question on the etiology of these unusual animals. Dr Clinton’s group also demonstrated that sexual development is not conserved between birds and mammals, and that the overall mechanism of sex-determination is different in birds to that in mammals (2). They have established that avian male and female somatic cells possess cell autonomous sex identities, and that these inherent differences govern sexual development in chickens (3).
Until recently, this work has been primarily funded by DEFRA to address welfare problems associated with the annual commercial destruction of 250 million day-old male chicks in Europe alone. A strategy of in ovo sexing has been designed to partially alleviate this problem and Dr Clinton’s group has now developed a rapid, simple sexing procedure suitable for use in an industrial setting. This procedure is currently being tested by a major industrial concern with a view to commercialisation.

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