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Development. 1990 Oct;110(2):385-90.

Mammary glands in male marsupials: I. Primordia in neonatal opossums Didelphis virginiana and Monodelphis domestica.

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Department of Anatomy, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.


Neonates of the American didelphid marsupials Didelphis virginiana and Monodelphis domestica were sexed by karyotype and histologically examined on the day of birth. Mammary anlagen were found in both sexes of both species, but the neonatal males had less than one-third of the full female complement of mammary glands. Male neonates of both species also had paired scrotal bulges anterior to the genital tubercle but these were never present in females, once again raising the question of whether the pouch and scrotum are homologous structures. Mammary anlagen are not found in male neonates of the Australian marsupial species so far studied, which suggests a dichotomy in the control of some aspects of sexual differentiation in the two marsupial lineages.

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