In toads, both males and females develop a unique gonadal structure called the Bidder s organ (BO), which resembles ovarian tissue and is attached to the anterior part of the gonad. It is not clear whether the BO is a vestigial organ, or has an endocrine function. In this study, we investigated the expression of the gonadal development genes Dmrt1, Sox9, Sf1, Dax1, and p450arom in the developing BO as compared with the gonads of male and female cane toads. We demonstrate that Sf1, Dax1, and p450arom, key genes involved in vertebrate steroidogenesis, are transcriptionally active in the BO during developmental milestones associated with sexual development and maturation. Furthermore, the pattern of transcriptional activity in the BO is completely independent of the corresponding gonads in both sexes, despite its ovary-like morphology. These results suggest that the BO likely has a steroidogenic role in the development of the cane toad, distinct from that of the gonads.
|Pages (from-to)||503 - 513|
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|