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Temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) is a type of environmental sex determination in which the temperatures experienced during embryonic development determine the sex of the offspring. It is most prevalent and common among amniote vertebrates that are classified under the reptile class. TSD differs from the chromosomal sex-determination systems common among vertebrates. It is a type of environmental sex determination (ESD); in other ESD systems, some factors such as population determine the sex of organisms (see Polyphenism). TSD was also thought to occur in some megapodes, such as the Australian brushturkey; however, their offspring sex ratios appear to result from temperature-dependent embryo mortality rather than from TSD.

The eggs are affected by the temperature at which they are incubated during the middle one-third of embryonic development. This critical period of incubation is known as the thermosensitive period (TSP). The specific time of sex-commitment is known due to several authors resolving histological chronology of sex differentiation in the gonads of turtles with TSD.


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