, Volume 101, Issue 1, pp 1-5

Sex chromosomes and human growth

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Studies on tooth crown size and structure of individuals with various sex chromosome anomalies and their normal male and female relatives have demonstrated differential direct effects on growth of genes on the human X and Y chromosomes. The Y chromosome promotes growth of both tooth enamel and dentin, whereas the effect of the X chromosome on tooth growth seems to be restricted to enamel formation. Enamel growth is decisively influenced by cell secretory function and dentin growth by cell proliferation. It is suggested that these differential effects of the X and Y chromosomes on growth explain the expression of sexual dimorphism in various somatic features, such as the size, shape and number of teeth, and, under the assumption of genetic pleiotropy, torus mandibularis, statural growth, and sex ratio. Future questions concern, among other topics, the Y chromosome and the mineralization process, concentric control of enamel and dentin growth, and gene expression.

Received: 11 March 1997 / Accepted: 10 June 1997