News From the Field
How turning down the heat makes a baby turtle male
May 10, 2018
This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.Scientists have started to crack the 50-year-old puzzle of how temperature turns baby turtles male or female. In a study in the journal Science, researchers show that cooler egg incubation temperatures turn up a key gene called Kdm6b in the turtle's immature sex organs. This in turn acts as a biological "on" switch, activating other genes that allow testes to develop without altering the underlying genetic code.Full Story
The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.