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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the presence of characteristics of both sexes in a dioecious organism. These characteristics are not fully developed, that is, they are of intermediate character and are manifested jointly in the same parts of the body. The embryonic development of such an organism, which is called an intersex, begins normally, but from a certain moment it proceeds according to the pattern of the other sexual type. The earlier the organism’s direction of development changes, the more sharply expressed is its intersexuality. Several types of intersexuality are distinguished.

Zygotic, or genetically conditioned, intersexuality is the result of deviation from the norm of the set of sex chromosomes and genes, which are predetermined at the moment of fertilization, when the gametes were combined in the zygote. Depending on the type of disorder, one may distinguish triploid (or aneuploid) intersexuality, which is produced by a deviation from the norm in the number of chromosomes in the zygote, and diploid intersexuality, which is caused by a disruption of the interrelationship of the genes that are brought to the zygote. Triploid (aneuploid) intersexuality was first studied in Drosophila. It was shown that in Drosophila intersexes the interrelationship between the number of sex chromosomes and autosomes is disrupted; the degree of intersexuality of the individual is determined by the chromosome (or gene) balance—that is, by the ratio of the number of sex chromosomes to the number of autosomes (and the sex-determining genes included in them).

The various forms of intersexuality, or so-called pseudohermaphroditism, found in humans are also caused by a disruption of the normal number of sex chromosomes. Depending on which of the chromosomes determining (respectively) the male or female sex are found in excess, one distinguishes “male” or “female” pseudohermaphroditism. Diploid intersexuality is observed in the gypsy moth after the interbreeding of various geographic races. Depending on the type of interbreeding, the intersexuality is noted either in the females or the males. Since in such cases no disruption of the normal number of chromosomes has been discovered, the German biologist R. Goldschmidt put forward the theory in 1912 of the varying “strength” of the genes that determine sex in different races (possibly determined by the qualitative differences in alleles or by the presence of other sex-determining genes).

Hormonal intersexuality is observed in animals, in which the sex glands secrete female or male sex hormones that determine the development of the secondary sex characteristics. When such an animal is castrated and the gonads of the other sex are transplanted to it, a respective masculinization or feminization occurs—that is, the animal becomes an intersex. Similar phenomena are observed in the so-called parasitic castration of crustaceans (found, for example, in the crab Inachus, which is parasitized by the cirripede Sacculina).


Miasoedov, S. V. Iavleniia razmnozheniia i pola v organicheskom mire. Tomsk, 1935.
Ryzhkov, V. L. Genetika pola. Kharkov, 1936.
Liberman, L. L. Vrozhdennye narusheniia polovogo razvitiia. Leningrad, 1966.
Goldschmidt, R. Die sexuellen Zwischenstufen. Berlin, 1931.
Die Intersexualität. Edited by C. Overzier. Stuttgart, 1961.
Ashley, D. J. Human Intersex. Edinburgh-London, 1962.
Teter, I. Gormonalńye narušenija u mužčin i ženščin. Warsaw, 1968;


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The underlying cause of ambiguous genitalia in a newborn/child needs extensive and urgent investigations not to miss the life threatening problem like congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) which comprises major presentation of DSD.5,6 Thorough clinical, hormonal, radiological, chromosomal, and molecular evaluations is therefore essentially required.
(%) CVS Anomaly 20 (83) 4 (17) 24 Renal Anomaly 1 (100) 0 (0) 0 (1) GIT Anomaly 2 (67) 1 (33) 3 Skeletal Anomaly 5 (50) 5 (50) 10 Ambiguous Genitalia 1 (50) 1 (50) 2 Table 3.
Out of these abnormalities, Down's syndrome (46.6%) was the highest chromosomal abnormality followed by ambiguous genitalia (24.5%) and Turner syndrome (2.1%).
Our patient had a karyotype of 46,XX and was born with ambiguous genitalia (Prader stage 4).
There were sparse axillary and public hair with ambiguous genitalia, absent scrotum, incompletely developed penile urethra, partially developed bilateral labia and gynecoid pelvis.
The XY DSD patients mainly presented with ambiguous genitalia, delayed puberty, primary amenorrhea, undescended testes, micro penis and inguinal mass as shown in table-II.
A concomitant Y-chromosomal disorder and ambiguous genitalia have been reported in 20% of patients, but we found no Y-chromosome disorder and/or genital anomaly in the present case (4, 5).
The cortisol deficiency and over- production of male sex hormones can lead to increased mortality, infertility and severe development defects including ambiguous genitalia, premature (precocious) sexual development and short stature.
Now, the plaintiff can change their gender status from "male" to "neutral." The ruling has established legal precedent for people born with ambiguous genitalia. It does not cover transgender or genderqueer French citizens who do not identify as male or female.
In this series, an almost equal number of males and females were found, with 5.8% of patients having ambiguous genitalia. More than half of the babies were born at term, with only 10% born before 32 gestational weeks.
Children presenting with ambiguous genitalia are a difficult situation to handle.
porcellus when used as experimental models may be useful in those studies on sexual infantilism in women, polycystic ovary syndrome, ambiguous genitalia at birth, pseudohermaphroditism, female genital virilization (Nobrega et al., 2004; Martin et al., 2008; Costenaro et al., 2010; Kalfa et al., 2010) and other studies on genetic syndromes associated with female pseudohermaphroditism, with alterations in genitalia in the female fetus, as clitoromegaly and hypoplasia of labia minora (Arnold et al., 1999) and McKusick-Kaufman syndrome, in which occurs association with hydrometrocolpos and agenesis of the vagina with the presence of the female urogenital sinus (Slavotinek and Biesecker, 2000).