July 23, 2019
Unlike in most mammals, gender selection in some reptiles is dependent on temperature, not the chromosomes they inherit from their parents. In the case of loggerhead turtle eggs in warmer nests become female, and those in cooler nests become male. The nest temperature influences the way certain molecules affect the way the genes are expressed, which in turn influences sexual development.
Because of this, researchers from the University of Exeter believe that climate changes and associated rising temperatures could be very problematic for the local loggerhead turtles at Cape Verde. At present an estimated 84% of turtle hatchlings are female, and this percentage will climb higher alongside warmer temperatures if nothing is done to slow climate change. In fact, the team estimate more than 99% of hatchlings will be female by 2100, which will be a huge, if not insurmountable problem for the turtle population if no action is taken.
An even worse possible outcome would be that temperatures rise to a point where the nests are too hot to allow the eggs to survive. Without action, the future of the loggerhead turtle, and many other species hangs in the balance, which is why the researchers urge the public that now is the time to act on climate change, before it is too late.
Source: Earth.com News
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