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The Roles Of Genes And Hormones.

 THE ROLE OF GENES IN GENDER DEVELOPMENT

Each person has 23 chromosomes, which carry hundreds of genes that contain instructions about physical and behavioural characteristics.

Sex chromosomes determine the sex of an individual- for females their chromosomes are XX and for males their chromosomes are XY. The Y chromosome contains very little genetic material however it does determine the sex of the baby.

There is a link between a individuals chromosomal sex (XY AND XX) and their external genitalia (VAGINA OR PENIS) and their internal genitalia (OVARIES OR TESTES)

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The Roles Of Genes And Hormones.

At the beginning of prenatal development the male and female embryo's are the same.

A few weeks after they both develop external genitalia's that look feminine.

Around 3 months if the embryo is to become male the testes produce the hormone called testosterone which will cause the external genitalia to develop.

Genetic transmission explains how individual's acquire their sex and can also explain some aspects of gender ( Whether a person see's themselves as male or female).

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EVALUATION OF The Roles Of Genes And Hormones.

RESEARCH TO SUPPORT THE ROLES OF GENES IN GENDER DEVELOPMENT.

Reiner and Gearheart- They studied sixteen genetical males born with almost no penis, two were raised as males and remained as males, the rest fourteen were raised as females and of those eight re-assigned themselves as males by the age of sixteen. THIS SUGGESTS THAT BIOLOGICAL FACTORS HAVE A KEY ROLE IN GENDER DEVELOPMENT.                                             

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EVALUATION OF The Roles Of Genes And Hormones.

RESEARCH AGAINST BOTH THE ROLE OF GENES AND HORMONES IN GENDER DEVELOPMENT.

Biological determinism-The outcome of gender development for each individual is a complex and unpredictable combination of genes, hormones, sex of rearing and socialisation. for example CAH occurs when XX females have prenatally high levels of male homones resulting in varying degrees of external male genitalia. Research appears to indicate that gender that is assigned at birth seems to be accepted by some and rejected by others. Therefore gender development is in part biologically determined (NATURE) but experience, personal qualities and socialisation (NURTURE) also have a key role.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

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THE ROLE OF HORMONES IN GENDER DEVELOPMENT

Hormones can be produced prenatally( e.g testosterone) and in adolescence ( A surge of hormones during puberty which can produce secondary sexual characteristics such as pubic hair)

Hormones influce the development of genitalia and/or affect the development of the brain- both of which influence gender behaviour.

DEVELOPMENT OF GENETALIA

The role of hormones can be seen by studying individuals who have been exposed prenatally to abnormal hormone levels (Intersex individuals). Normally external genitalia are in accord with genetic sex. However in some cases a genetic male embryo is exposed to too little male hormone making the newborn look female.

Some females are exposed to prenatally relatively large doses of male hormones, resulting in ambiguous genitalia. Such individuals are usually identified as females at birth and are usually content, however they are often interested in male-type activities and are tomboyish. This may be because of the influence of male hormones. (BERENBAUM AND BAILEY)

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THE ROLE OF HORMONES IN GENDER DEVELOPMENT

BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

Male and female brains are different. Girls appear to have better social skills (such as empathising) than boys, and are more talkative, they are less good at spatial navigation.

Research into sex differences showed that they may be caused by th effects of testosterone levels on developing brains. Male brains are exposed more to testosterone than girls and therefore can lead to the development of a masculinised brain.

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EVALUATION OF The Roles Of Genes And Hormones.

REAL WORLD APPLICATION

Since 1968 the international olympics committee have tested the genetic sex of all athletes excluded all but XX females and XY males which meant that AIS individuals could not compete. In 1991 there was a ruling that genetic sex would no longer determine entry to a game. Individuals are now only excluded from women's events if they are obviously physicall male. In other words genetic sex no longer determines gender.

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