Endocrine mediators of masculinization in female mammals

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Most mammal species show traditional patterns of sexual dimorphism (e.g., greater male size and aggression), the proximal mechanism of which involves the male's greater pre- and postnatal exposure to circulating androgens. But in several species, females diverge from the traditional pattern, converging on the male form or even reversing sexual dimorphisms. Such "masculinized" females might show elongation of the clitoris, enhanced body size, and aggressively mediated social dominance over males, and they are interesting case studies for examining the role of androgens in females. This review addresses our understanding of the mediating mechanisms of morphological and behavioral development in both traditional and exceptional mammal species. Although certain lines of evidence implicate testosterone in female masculinization, the role for sex steroids in female development remains unclear. The results call for continued study of both hormonal and nonhormonal mechanisms of sexual differentiation, particularly focused on active processes of feminine development. © 2009 Association for Psychological Science.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Drea, CM

Published Date

  • August 1, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 18 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 221 - 226

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-8721

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0963-7214

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2009.01640.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus