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Summary

The nature of the mechanisms underlying observed sex differences in human behaviour continues to be debated. This review concentrates on the thesis that genes on the sex chromosomes other than those directly controlling sex determination, and whose functions are, at least in part, independent from hormonal influences, play a significant role in determining gender differences in behaviour. To provide an adequate basis for examining this issue, the current understanding of the nature of sex determination, differences in behaviour and the influences of sex hormones are evaluated. The possible contribution to behavioural differences of those X-linked genes which escape inactivation, or which may be subjected to imprinting, is discussed. The review concludes with a summary of the genetic basis for two sexually disparate types of behaviour.