Send to

Choose Destination
Horm Behav. 1988 Dec;22(4):552-71.

Behavioral masculinization is independent of genital masculinization in prenatally androgenized female rhesus macaques.

Author information

Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53715-1299.


Genetic female fetuses were exposed transplacentally to testosterone propionate injected into their mothers either early (Days 40 through 64) or late (Days 115 through 139) in gestation. Early and late androgenized females (EAFs and LAFs, respectively) were raised with normal males and females that served as criteria for evaluating degree of behavioral masculinization induced by the prenatal androgen. EAFs were genitally virilized and LAFs were not. Males and untreated females differed reliably on five behavioral measures: males showed more mother-mounting, more peer-mounting, more rough play with peers, a preference for initiating play with male partners, and less grooming of mothers. Neither type of prenatally androgenized female showed masculinization of all five types of behavior. Compared with females, EAFs showed more mother-mounting, more peer-mounting, less mother-grooming, did not differ from females in rough play, and did not manifest a preference for male partners. LAFs, like females, groomed but did not mount their mothers, and did not show a preference for male partners; but unlike females they showed elevated rough play and mounting with peers. EAFs showed a statistically significant delay in puberty onset (menarche), but LAFs did not. Mothers inspected genitalia of their offspring more often if they were males than if they were females. Mothers of EAFs inspected their offspring's genitalia as often as mothers of males, but mothers of LAFs did not. No aspect of maternal behavior was associated with either the amount or kind of masculine behavior shown toward peers. We interpret the results to mean that genital virilization is independent of, and largely irrelevant to, the expression of those behavioral traits that characterize the juvenile male social role. Moreover, the individual behavior traits that are components of the juvenile male role are independently regulated by the organizing actions of androgen and have separable critical periods. Of the two major traits, mounting peers and rough play with peers, the latter has a greater requirement for androgenic stimulation late in prenatal life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center