Biological: The role of hormones on gender development

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From the point at which the sex organs of a foetus have formed, the influence of genes on gender development ceases. The role of the Y chromosome is to ensure that the gonads of males develop into testes rather than ovaries, so that the male will then be exposed to male rather than female hormones. It is exposure, both before and after birth, to these hormones that is responsible for the physical differences between males and females.

Before we are born, exposure to sex hormones has a permanent 'organisational' effect on the development of sex organs so that males develop testes and a penis, while females develop ovaries and a vagina.



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