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Feminization of the quail by early diethylstilbestrol treatment: histoenzymological investigations on steroid dehydrogenases in the gonads.


Early treatment of Quail eggs by DES promotes a transient feminization of the gonads in genetic males and a strong stimulation of the Müllerian ducts. The left ovotestis results from the juxtaposition of a testicular medulla and an induced female-type cortex, which develops follicles and a characteristic 17 beta-HSD activity. The right testis is reduced but keeps a consistent structure. The medulla of the treated gonads shows, in both sexes, an inhibition of delta 5-3 beta HSD activity during embryonic development. After hatching, this specific enzyme then develops in the steroidogenic cells. These results are compared with others obtained with estradiol and also in chick. The discussion deals also with the effects of these estrogens on the endogenous abilities and specific responses of the gonads in relation to sex differentiation factors.

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