Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ovaries under constant pressure to be male

Cosmos Online

SYDNEY: Female ovaries spend their entire existence suppressing an innate capacity to become male, according to a new study that overturns existing theories.

The study, published in the journal Cell, could have important implications for understanding sex disorders in humans.

It found that the ovaries of adult female mice could be ‘reprogrammed’ into non-sperm-producing male testes by silencing a single gene, called FOXL2.

Another gene, called SRY and found on the Y chromosome, is responsible for undeveloped foetal gonads becoming male testes, rather than female ovaries. SRY then activates a gene called SOX9, which takes over from there.

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