Intersexuality

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Intersexuality

 

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).

REFERENCES

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;

A. E. GATSINOVICH

References in periodicals archive ?
Rapid Molecular Genetic Diagnosis with Next-Generation Sequencing in 46,XY Disorders of Sex Development Cases: Efficiency and Cost Assessment.
The group of Disorders of Sex Development (DSD) with 46XY karyotype can be due to several etiologies and require more extensive diagnostic evaluation.
Kon, "Genital surgery for disorders of sex development: implementing a shared decision-making approach," Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology & Metabolism : JPEM, vol.
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The authors use their extensive knowledge to create a book that describes various disorders of sex development, proper testing to confirm diagnosis, longterm effects of the disorders, and challenges that families and affected children will face throughout their lifetime.
* Genetic testing for infertility, reproductive disorders and disorders of sex development.
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Collectively the signers of this letter have been engaged for more than twenty years in just the sort of effort regarding "gender verification" (or, more appropriately, sex verification) of athletes competing in high-level, women-only events that Alice Dreger mentions in her essay, "Sex Typing for Sport." Collectively we represent acknowledged expertise in the understanding and treatment of disorders of sex development, as well as the governance--and politics--of international sports and the women's sports movement.
Thirty-four chapters address various aspects of the diagnosis and management of reproductive endocrine disorders, beginning with coverage of such topics as the neuroendocrinology of reproduction, gonadotropin hormones and their receptors, prolactin, synthesis and metabolism of steroid hormones, and the ovarian life cycle, and continuing with disorders of sex development, nutrition and the pubertal transition, polycystic ovary syndrome, endocrine diseases of pregnancy, and breast cancer, among other topics.