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Reprod Fertil Dev. 1991;3(3):295-301.

Mammary glands in male marsupials. 2. Development of teat primordia in Didelphis virginiana and Monodelphis domestica.

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Department of Genetics, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, San Antonio, Texas 78228-0147.


Young and adults of both sexes of two didelphid marsupials, Didelphis virginiana and Monodelphis domestica, were examined externally for evidence of mammary gland development. Female young possessed teat numbers typical of adult females (13-15 in D. virginiana; 11-13 in M. domestica). Male young showed variable teat numbers which were always low compared with females, with the majority possessing 2-4 in anterior positions. Teats were also present in adult males of both species, in similar numbers and locations to those of young males. There are no previous reports of the presence of teats in any adult male marsupials. No mammary primordia in males have been recorded at any stage of development in the most thoroughly studied Australian marsupials. Our findings strengthen the view that there is a dichotomy between the two marsupial lineages in the regulation of male mammary gland expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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