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Sexual Differentiation of Behavior in the Context of Developmental Psychobiology

  • Pauline Yahr
Part of the Handbook of Behavioral Neurobiology book series (HBNE, volume 9)

Abstract

Sexual differentiation refers to processes of biological development by which tissues and cells become committed to masculine or feminine phenotypes. Even among mammals and birds, in which chromosomes determine sex, most tissues and cells that become sexually dimorphic are sexually indifferent initially. They have the potential to produce either a male or a female version of the adult form. In most cases, the sexual phenotype that they develop depends not on their own genotype but on factors in their environment. Thus, sexual differentiation resembles, and presumably reflects, the same processes by which all specialized cells differentiate from a common precursor, the fertilized egg. Granted, some embryonic tissues can produce structures of only one sex. Yet, even in these cases, the sexual indifference of early development is apparent because tissues that can produce the structures of the other sex are present as well.

Keywords

Androgen Receptor Sexual Differentiation Zebra Finch Copulatory Behavior Preoptic Area 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pauline Yahr
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychobiologyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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