Widespread patterns of sexually dimorphic gene expression in an avian hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal (HPG) axis

Dr. Calisi holding a rock dove.
Rebecca Calisi, assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, is working with pigeons (also known as rock doves) to study physiological differences between males and females. Her work is addressing pervasive sex bias in scientific studies. (Gregory Urguiaga/UC Davis)

 In experimental research, scientists tend to assume that — unless they are looking specifically at reproduction or sexual behavior — male and female animals are alike, and mostly use males. A new study by researchers in Dr. Calisi's lab and the University of New Hampshire, published April 18 in Scientific Reports, shows surprisingly big differences in tissue gene expression between male and female rock doves. The work is part of an attempt to make science more gender-inclusive and aware of physiological and other differences between the sexes.