The value of comparative approaches to our understanding of puberty as illustrated by investigations in birds and reptiles

Horm Behav. 2013 Jul;64(2):211-4. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2013.05.002.


This article is part of a Special Issue "Puberty and Adolescence". Studies of birds and reptiles have provided many basic insights into the neuroendocrine control of reproductive processes. This research has elucidated mechanisms regulating both early development, including sexual differentiation, and adult neuroendocrine function and behavior. However, phenomena associated with the transition into sexual maturation (puberty) have not been a focus of investigators working on species in these taxonomic classes. Research is complicated in birds and reptiles by a variety of factors, including what can be extended times to maturation, the need to reach particular body size regardless of age, and environmental conditions that can support or inhibit endocrine responses. However, careful selection of model systems, particularly those with available genetic tools, will lead to important comparative studies that can elucidate both generalizability and diversity of mechanisms regulating the onset of reproductive maturity.

Keywords: Anolis carolinensis; Gonadotropin releasing hormone; Kisspeptin; Photoperiodism; Seasonal reproduction; Sexual maturation; Taeniopygia guttata.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Birds / growth & development*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / physiology
  • Reproduction / physiology
  • Reptiles / growth & development*
  • Sex Differentiation / physiology
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology*
  • Time Factors