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Discovery - Sexual Nature 3/3

Adam Rutherford explores the many routes to female or male. He meets a giant komodo dragon, and discusses the platypus’ weird sex chromosomes and the sex secrets of Nemo the fish.

When a couple are expecting a baby, the big question is: girl or boy? Adam Rutherford explores the many ways Nature decides that question. If you’re a human, a kangaroo or a komodo dragon, it’s in the sex chromosomes. If you’re a crocodile, it’s the temperature of your egg. And if you’re a fish, it can be one sex first and, later in the life, the other. Adam’s investigation includes conversation with Professor Jennifer Graves, a leading authority on sex determination, at La Trobe University in Australia. She explains what the weird nature of the platypus’ sex chromosomes tells us about how human gender is decided. Adam also meets one of London Zoo’s Komodo Dragons, the world’s largest and fiercest lizard. Female dragons can produce young without mating with males, but all their babies are males. How so?

  • Broadcast on BBC World Service, 1:32AM Sun, 24 Feb 2013
  • Available until 12:00AM Thu, 1 Jan 2099
  • First broadcast BBC World Service, 7:32PM Mon, 18 Feb 2013
  • Categories
  • Duration 18 minutes

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