Genetic Influences on Sexual Behavior Differentiation

  • Kathie L. Olsen
Part of the Handbooks of Behavioral Neurobiology book series (HBNE, volume 11)


The importance of perinatal hormonal stimulation for sexual behavior differentiation is well established in mammals. Hormones secreted by the testes during a critical developmental period have masculinizing and defeminizing effects on sexual behaviors. Moreover, these differentiating actions of testicular hormones on behavior are independent of genetic sex. Females exposed perinatally to testosterone will show more male mating responses and fewer female mating responses in adulthood. Similarly, males deprived of perinatal testicular stimulation display limited male mating behavior but high levels of female mating behavior following the appropriate hormone treatment in adulthood. Although these data demonstrate that the development of sexual behaviors can be independent of genetic sex, the genotype does play an important role in normal sexual differentiation.


Androgen Receptor Inbred Strain Sexual Differentiation Recombinant Inbred Strain Estradiol Benzoate 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathie L. Olsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Behavioral Neuroendocrinology ProgramNational Science FoundationUSA

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