A team of eminent scientists from Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and universities in Japan have collaborated to make a significant effort to unravel the mysterious interplay between nature and the living world to sustain life on this planet. The scientists have carried out a comprehensive review of extensive literature dealing with sex determination, sexual differentiation and sexual plasticity among vertebrates, ranging from fishes to reptiles and mammals, and come up with important postulates regarding the development and existence of the two different sexes, the male and female. The joint paper has been published in “Physiological Reviews,” a high-impact journal of the American Physiological Society, with an impact factor of 37.3.
For the research, Dr Bindhu Paul-Prasanth, Center for Nanosciences & Molecular Medicine, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in India collaborated with Dr Yoshitaka Nagahama (Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, National Institute of Basic Biology, Japan), Dr Tapas Chakraborty (South Ehime Fisheries Research Center, Ehime University, Japan), Dr Kohei Ohta (Laboratory of Marine biology, Kyushu University, Japan) and Dr Masaru Nakamura (Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of Ryukyus, Japan).
The ability to make a copy through reproduction is what demarcates the living world from the non-living world. The plants and animals make it happen mainly in two ways, asexual and sexual. In asexual reproduction, organisms make xerox copies of themselves, while in sexual reproduction, organisms are provided with a unique opportunity to prepare their species to adapt to the constantly changing environment through the mixing and shuffling of genomes. Nature executes the sexual mode of reproduction through the division of members belonging to sexually reproducing species into two forms, male and female. Humankind has always been curious regarding the biological differences between these two forms. Scientists involved in research on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the sexually dichotomous development of organisms, including humans, have thrown light into a myriad of strategies that enable organisms to attain two different sexual identities.
According to Dr Bindhu Paul-Prasanth, “This review is a comprehensive analysis of more than 680 publications on sex determination research, in which the clinical highlights provided by the authors can contribute to the understanding of the evolutionary puzzles in speciation and species diversity. It puts forth several important observations such as that the constantly evolving and devolving nature of sex determination as a biological process ensures the survival, fitness and biodiversity in this planet, and that sex determination is an interactive outcome of an individual with its environment. Another significant observation is that identification of self either as a male or female, as dictated by the chromosome constitution of an organism, is one of the goals of sex determination and sexual differentiation, which is indispensable for achieving reproductive success both at the individual and species levels.”
Dr. Bindhu Paul-Prashanth is the only author from India who has contributed to this prestigious review article of the American Physiological Society. The review paper has received a high impact factor of 37.3, an indication of the authority and importance of the published work.