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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A search for female sex hormones in salmon embryos of the genus Oncorhynchus Robertson, James Grant


A dialyzing technique was developed to concentrate an estrogen hormone fraction suitable for separation by paper partition chromatography and spectrophotometry assay. Estrogens were not found in sexually differentiating salmon embryos. Small amounts of estriol, estradiol-17β and estrone added to the tissue could not be recovered. However, horse testes assayed by the same technique showed the presence of estradiol-17 β and estrone in concentrations of .097 and .143 mg./kg., respectively. The assay of horse testes was carried out on.90 gram lots, whereas the one previous chemical assay was done on 28,000 grams. It is concluded that this technique is very satisfactory for extraction of estrogens from animal gonads, but that hormone added to whole salmon embryos is inactivated by-some unknown system. A partition technique recently developed by F. Mitchell and R. Davies for the extraction of estrogens from human placentae was slightly modified for use with salmon embryos. This method confirmed the negative findings obtained by the dialyzing technique. On the basis of these experiments, there is no evidence to support the hormonal theory of sex differentiation in fishes.

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