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Neurogenetics. 1998 Aug;1(4):281-8.

The Y-chromosomal genes SRY and ZFY are transcribed in adult human brain.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Ulm, Germany.


Sexual differentiation of the brain is thought to be regulated by hormonal signals from the developing male gonad. However, more-recent experimental and clinical data throw some doubt on the general validity of the "classical" steroid hypothesis and suggest that additional intervening factors or mechanisms need to be considered. In particular, it is now envisaged that neurons are capable of acquiring sex-specific properties independently of their hormonal environment. Here we show that two Y-chromosomal genes involved in sex determination of the gonad, SRY and ZFY, are transcribed in hypothalamus, and frontal and temporal cortex of the adult male human brain. These genes are candidates for male-specific transcriptional regulators that could confer upon human brain cells the potential for hormone-independent realization and maintenance of genetic sex.

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