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Sex Reversal in Poultry

By A. Gregorio Rosales, DVM, MS, PhD, DACPV, Aviagen Inc.

If the normal left ovary of a hen is destroyed by infection, the vestigial right organ may develop as a testicle and the hen may develop male characteristics. Neoplasia in the adrenal glands or ovary that result in the production of testosterone could also cause the development of male secondary sexual characteristics (comb and wattles) in affected females.