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Balls; Testes; Testicles


From the Greek work, gone, meaning seed. It refers to a seed producing gland, such as an ovary or a testis [1].


Gonads typically refer to the male sex glands. These glands usually occur in pairs. They are located in an external sac of skin in humans called the scrotum behind the penis. The gonads produce and store sperm and are the male’s primary source of male hormones, such as testosterone. These hormones control the development of the reproductive organs and other male characteristics, such as body and facial hair, low voice, and wide shoulders [1].

Relevance to Childhood Development

The male sex glands, gonads, provide the male gamete, or seed, that joins with the female gamete to form a zygote from which the embryo develops. The male seed helps to determine the sex of the zygote and the characteristics inherited from the father. As the male child progresses through puberty, the gonads release the male hormones that control...

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  1. Anderson, K. N., Anderson, L. E., & Glanze, W. D. (Eds.). (1998). Mosby’s medical, nursing, & allied health dictionary (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

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© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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Daniels, C.D. (2011). Gonads. In: Goldstein, S., Naglieri, J.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development. Springer, Boston, MA.

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