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Kathleen Hunt jespah at carson.u.washington.edu
Thu Oct 14 14:59:23 EST 1993

In article <EDSTROM.93Oct14091639 at elmer.hsc.ucalgary.ca>,
John Edstrom <edstrom at elmer.hsc.ucalgary.ca> wrote:
>birds (there's a parthenogenic turkey farm in New Jersey)

HUH??  Are you sure this is right? 

One tricky thing with birds is that the females are heterogametic (XY) 
and the males are homogametic (XX), the opposite of mammals.  So if 
parthenogenesis really happens...if an X egg develops 
parthenogenetically, you end up with an XX male, who cannot create eggs, 
and you stop right there.  If a Y egg develops parthenogenetically, you 
end up with a YY embryo, which dies.

So are you sure about the turkeys, or could it be some other phenomenon 
you are thinking of?  Sex-change has very rarely been observed in birds 
-- it was either in chickens or turkeys -- but I don't think the gametes 
of a sex-changed individual could be completely normal.  Let's see, if 
you had a female who sex-changed to become a male, and she produced X and 
Y sperm, and she mated with a normal XY female, and her sperm were 
functional, you'd get 1/4 XX males, 1/2 XY females, 1/4 YY dead eggs.  
Hmm.  I suppose it's conceivable.  But I doubt her sperm would be normal 
in the first place.  Hmm.  Clearly I have to go read up on this.


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