Aggressive behaviour: contributions from genes on the Y chromosome

  1. Gregory Bock Organizer and
  2. Jamie Goode
  1. Robin Lovell-Badge

Published Online: 7 OCT 2008

DOI: 10.1002/0470010703.ch3

Molecular Mechanisms Influencing Aggressive Behaviours: Novartis Foundation Symposium 268

Molecular Mechanisms Influencing Aggressive Behaviours: Novartis Foundation Symposium 268

How to Cite

Lovell-Badge, R. (2005) Aggressive behaviour: contributions from genes on the Y chromosome, in Molecular Mechanisms Influencing Aggressive Behaviours: Novartis Foundation Symposium 268 (eds G. Bock and J. Goode), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/0470010703.ch3

Author Information

  1. Division of Developmental Genetics, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 7 OCT 2008
  2. Published Print: 28 JUL 2005

Book Series:

  1. Novartis Foundation Symposia

Book Series Editors:

  1. Novartis Foundation

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470010686

Online ISBN: 9780470010709

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Keywords:

  • Y-linked gene SRY;
  • sex reversal and intersex conditions;
  • sex-specific neuroanatomy and circuitry;
  • leydig cells and SRY;
  • SOX9 expression;
  • XX male development;
  • SF1 and steroidogenic pathway;
  • genomic imprinting phenomenon

Summary

The Y-linked gene SRY initiates male development in mammals through a pathway of gene activity leading to testis development. The testis then exports the male signal to the rest of the embryo via secreted molecules such as testosterone. These subsequently lead to many male characteristics in terms of anatomy, physiology and behaviour. Because males tend to be more aggressive than females, and androgens are often blamed for this, SRY can be thought of as a contributor to such behaviour. However, any effect the gene has is very indirect. Nevertheless, accumulating evidence suggests that other sex-linked genes may have more direct effects on differences between the sexes, and some of these are likely to include behavioural phenotypes. While it is not yet clear how important these are, they could compound decisions when treating cases of sex reversal and intersex conditions. They should also be borne in mind as a source of genetic variation when looking at differences between individuals, including behavioural traits such as aggression.