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Sex and the gender spectrum: How genetics help determine gender identity

| | January 2, 2017

That genes have anything to do with the determination of sex, gender, and gender identity is a relatively new idea in our history.

If the Y chromosome carried all the information to determine maleness, then that chromosome had to carry genes to make an embryo male…Yet, the Y chromosome is an inhospitable place for genes…It is the most vulnerable spot in the human genome.

In genetic terms, this suggests a peculiar paradox. Sex, one of the most complex of human traits, is unlikely to be encoded by multiple genes. Rather, a single gene, buried rather precariously in the Y chromosome, must be the master regulator of maleness.

It is now clear that genes are vastly more influential than virtually any other force in shaping sex identity and gender identity…[T]he growing consensus in medicine is that…children should be assigned to their chromosomal (i.e., genetic) sex regardless of anatomical variations and differences—with the option of switching, if desired, later in life.

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Biological gender in humans is determined by one chromosomal pair, outlined here in red. Credit: Nautilus

In an anatomical and physiological sense, sex identity is quite binary: Just one gene governs sex identity, resulting in the striking anatomical and physiological dimorphism that we observe between males and females. But gender and gender identity are far from binary.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Why Sex Is Mostly Binary but Gender Is a Spectrum

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
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