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Health, Scientific progress

18 - 08 - 2017

How an individual chooses a reproductive system

Androgens are not the one to determine the presence of a male reproductive apparatus in adults, according to a new study in mice.


Mammalian embryos (mice or humans) develop very early embryonic reproductive tracts, one male and one female. Up to now researchers thought that the secretion of androgens by the genetically male embryo helped orient the development in a male rather than a female direction.


In fact, researchers have discovered things don’t quite work like that. Genetically female mice embryos actively destroy the embryonic male reproductive system using the COUP-TFII protein. If this protein is suppressed in genetically female embryos, the two breeding apparatuses continue to coexist and the mice are intersexed or carry both male and female reproductive traits. And androgens, have nothing to do with the persistence of the male reproductive organs.





This discovery brings us a step closer in the understanding of the embryonic development of the reproductive system which will ultimately help understand and treat pathologies linked to sexual development.