Gender Testing

Topics: Y chromosome, XY sex-determination system, Androgen insensitivity syndrome Pages: 2 (573 words) Published: February 27, 2014


I wasn’t aware before reading the text how hard to decide a person’s gender and due to that, to qualify or disqualify a person from Olympic Games. Person ‘Jane Doe’ is given as an example in the text to see how hard to decide a person’s gender. When we examine the anatomy (the physically appearance) of a person, by just looking the external organs we can say the person is male or female. However, it may lead some confusions. Jane Doe is a clear example of this situation. Jane’s breast is present and Jane’s female external genitalia is fully formed but she has never menstruated and her mother’s sister has never been able to get pregnant. Result of the physical examination shows Jane Doe is female. But it seems unusual that Jane does not menstruate and Jane has an infertile aunt. Because of these confusing information, to make a good decision we need karyotype test beside physical tests to see if Jane has two X chromosomes or has a pair X and Y. Y chromosome coincides with maleness and we may conclude if a person has Y chromosome, than the person is male. However, presence of Y chromosome is not enough reason to determine a person’s gender. Jane has Y chromosome and also has female external genitalia and breast. What we can conclude after these results is physical test and karyotype test are not enough too. Then we need to find specific genes that play a role in determining the person’s gender. This gene is called SRY (testis-determining-factor) and by PCR test, its existence is found. However, having SRY gene may not be enough to become a male. A person may have both X and Y chromosomes and active SRY gene and female external genitalia. Syndrome called CAIS explains this situation as Jane has. Genetic mutation in some levels cause receptors fail to recognize androgens-steroid hormones, such as testosterone- and primary male sex characteristics fail to occur and CAIS individual’s body behave like there is no testosterone, much more similar to situation in...

References: http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/gender-testing-athletes
http://media.hhmi.org/biointeractive/click/gendertest/gendertest.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/athletics/8219937.stm
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