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Biological Approach To Gender Notes

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Biological approach to gender

Sex - identifying a person chromosomally as male (XY) or female (XX) Gender - referring to masculine or feminine traits and behaviours In the first few weeks after contraception, there are no structural difference between genetically male and genetically female embryos Male and females have two ridges of tissue, called gonadal ridges from which male and female sexual organs develop

Role of genes in gender development:

Each person has 23 pairs of chromosomes, each carrying hundreds of genes containing instructions on physical and behavioural characteristics One pair of chromosomes are called sex chromosomes, as they determine a person's sex Direct link between person's chromosomal sex and external/ internal genitalia During prenatal development all individuals look the same and embryos have genitalia that externally looks feminine When foetus is 3 months old, if it is male, the testes produce testosterone which causes external male genitalia to develop

Role of hormones in gender development:

Chromosomes initially determine person's sex but most gender development is governed by hormones - produced prenatally and during puberty - testosterone causes hair growth, oestrogen causes breast growth Hormones influence development of genitalia and/ or affect development of brain, both of which influence gender behaviour

Research into role of testosterone:

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