Benjamin B. Parrott

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Environmental factors are known to influence sex determination in many nonmammalian vertebrates. In all crocodilians studied thus far, temperature is the only known determinant of sex. However, the molecular mechanisms mediating the effect of temperature on sex determination are not known. Aromatase (CYP19A1) and SOX9 play critical roles in vertebrate sex(More)
As temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) and homozygote or heterozygote genetic sex determination (GSD) exist in multiple reptilian taxa, they represent sex determination systems that have emerged de novo. Current investigations have revealed that the genetic mechanisms used by various reptilian species are similar to those used by other(More)
Tissue replenishment from stem cells follows a precise cascade of events, during which stem cell daughters first proliferate by mitotic transit amplifying divisions and then enter terminal differentiation. Here we address how stem cell daughters are guided through the early steps of development. In Drosophila testes, somatic cyst cells enclose the(More)
Epigenetic modifications are key mediators of the interactions between the environment and an organism's genome. DNA methylation represents the best-studied epigenetic modification to date and is known to play key roles in regulating transcriptional activity and promoting chromosome stability. Our laboratory has previously demonstrated the utility of the(More)
Exploring adult stem cell dynamics in normal and disease states is crucial to both better understanding their in vivo role and better realizing their therapeutic potential. Here we address the division frequency of Germline Stem Cells (GSCs) in testes of Drosophila melanogaster. We show that GSC division frequency is under genetic control of the highly(More)
Despite the widespread occurrence of environmental sex determination (ESD) among vertebrates, our knowledge of the temporal dynamics by which environmental factors act on this process remains limited. In many reptiles, incubation temperature determines sex during a discrete developmental window just prior to and coincident with the differentiation of the(More)
Production of specialized cells from precursors depends on a tightly regulated sequence of proliferation and differentiation steps. In the gonad of Drosophila melanogaster, the daughters of germ line stem cells (GSC) go through precisely four rounds of transit amplification divisions to produce clusters of 16 interconnected germ line cells before entering a(More)
The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) displays temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), in which incubation temperature during embryonic development determines the sexual fate of the individual. However, the molecular mechanisms governing this process remain a mystery, including the influence of initial environmental temperature on the(More)
Incubation temperatures experienced by developing embryos exert powerful influences over gonadal sex determination and differentiation in many species. However, the molecular mechanisms controlling these impacts remain largely unknown. We utilize the American alligator to investigate the sensitivity of the reproductive system to thermal signals experienced(More)
Mercury is a widespread environmental contaminant with exposures eliciting a well-documented catalog of adverse effects. Yet, knowledge regarding the underlying mechanisms by which mercury exposures are translated into biological effects remains incomplete. DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification that is sensitive to environmental cues, and(More)