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I shall summarize my lay understanding of my question before going into details. To my lay reading, the sex of a vast diversity of animal kingdom species can be thought of as arising from the extent that the process of Aromatization - the catalyic conversion of testosterone produced by the gonads to oestrogen - happens. This extent of aromatization can be egg temperature determine, or genetically determined.

The German "Aromatase" Wikipedia page makes the following curious, unsubstantiated claim (translation mine, so apologies in advance):

"Aromatase (aka CYP19A1) is the Enzyme that in backboned animals catalyses the conversion from testosterone to oestradiol ....[emphasis mine]"

Which raises the question in the title. My understanding was that the aromatization process as the sex determining process was wider spread in the animal kingdom than backboned animals, at least as wide as chordates. Since the claim is unsubstantiated, i put the question in my title to this community.

Another take on the question: Can anyone give me examples of animals which are not backboned animals and for whom sex is determined by the extent of the aromatization reaction?

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  • $\begingroup$ What non-vertebrate chordates do you have in mind? In any case, the claim does not say "only backboned animals" so it doesn't seem like finding a non-vertebrate example would disprove the claim (nor does it say "all" vertebrates). $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 21 '19 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause agreed. But the naming of a restriction like this got me thinking. I guess there aren't many non vertebrate chordates, but as ascidians spring to mind, for example. Anyhow, as someone undergoing hormone therapy, the process fascinates me.there seems to be a great deal of lay info on the process in humans, but not to much on fellow animals and indeed how the process cake into being. $\endgroup$ Nov 22 '19 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ I think most ascidians are hermaphrodites (possibly all but I don't know nearly enough to make that statement). If you want to know about sex differentiation more broadly it might make more sense to focus on further flung species that have been well studied, like drosophila, and contrast between humans and flies. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Nov 22 '19 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause Interesting. I don't know much about ascidians, aside from that they taste really good, at least the ones on the shores of my home state Victoria do. See also the Japanese dish kenned as "Hoya". See the "other" take on my question. I completely disagree with the Wikipedia description of the taste of sea pineapple BTW - the Japanese and Victorian edible ones taste almost identical and like salted sour cream with a sweet aftertaste, but with a soft meaty texture. Most peculiar but thoroughly ambrosial nonetheless. $\endgroup$ Nov 23 '19 at 18:55

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