Sex determination in humans



In mammals, the Y chromosome induces testis formation and thus male sexual development; in the absence of a Y chromosome, gonads differentiate into ovaries and female development ensues. Molecular genetic studies have identified the Y-located testis determining gene SRY as well as autosomal and X-linked genes necessary for gonadal development. The phenotypes resulting from mutation of these genes, together with their patterns of expression, provide the basis for establishing a hierachy of genes and their interactions in the mammalian sex determination pathway.