Chapter

Aromatase, Estrogens, and Differentiation of Sexual Behavior and Partner Preference in Birds

Elizabeth Adkins-Regan

in Brain Aromatase, Estrogens, and Behavior

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199841196
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979837 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199841196.003.0018

Series: Oxford Series in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology

Aromatase, Estrogens, and Differentiation of Sexual Behavior and Partner Preference in Birds

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Birds show a rich array of sexually differentiated behavior. Research on two species, the Japanese quail and the zebra finch, is the source of most of what is known to date about the role of hormones such as estrogens in the development of those sex differences. In both species, the gonads and brains of very young birds (embryos, nestlings) produce estrogens, and experimental manipulations of estrogens early in development have profound organizational effects on adult behavior, supporting a role for aromatase in the sexual differentiation process. Estrogens seem to be important for sexual differentiation of behavior in both Japanese quail and zebra finches, but how and where are still unclear. Newer genomic and other molecular resources and techniques can be expected to lead to significant progress in both species.

Keywords: aromatase; embryos; estrogens; Japanese quail; sexual behavior; sexual differentiation; sexual partner preference; singing; zebra finch

Chapter.  7902 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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