Gynandromorph: Spectacular bird found with male plumage on one side and female on the other

ap bird feat x
Rose-breasted grosbeak gynandromorph. Credit: Annie Lindsay

Split down the middle, with one side flaunting yellow ‘wing pits’, and the other side rocking a pink underwing, researchers say this spectacular-looking songbird is one for the record books.

While we can’t be sure without a blood test or an autopsy, the team says this rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) is probably the product of a genetic anomaly known as bilateral gynandromorphy, one we’ve seen in birds before.

Unlike true hermaphroditism, which refers to having both male and female reproductive tissues, gynandromorphs display contrasting sexual characteristics on each side of their body.

Follow the latest news and policy debates on agricultural biotech and biomedicine? Subscribe to our newsletter.
Related article:  7 ways CRISPR gene editing is changing the world

In this case, while one side of the rose-breasted grosbeak appears genetically female, the other side shows all the hallmarks of a genetic male.

Even the backs of its wings and tail show crucial sexual differences, with the left side displaying a browner shade and the right side a blacker one.

If the bird is anything like other gynandromorphs we’ve found, this left-right division might go for its insides, too, including its brain and its reproductive organs.

“The entire banding team was very excited to see such a rarity up close, and are riding the high of this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” says the program manager Annie Lindsay.

“One of them described it as ‘seeing a unicorn’ and another described the adrenaline rush of seeing something so remarkable.”

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend