Sexual differentiation of the human brain: Relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation

  • Swaab D
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Abstract

Male sexual differentiation of the brain and behavior are thought, on the basis of experiments in rodents, to be caused by androgens, following conversion to estrogens. However, observations in human subjects with genetic and other disorders show that direct effects of testosterone on the developing fetal brain are of major importance for the development of male gender identity and male heterosexual orientation. Solid evidence for the importance of postnatal social factors is lacking. In the human brain, structural diferences have been described that seem to be related to gender identity and sexual orientation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Androgen receptors
  • Brain
  • Estrogen receptors
  • Gender
  • Heterosexuality
  • Homosexuality
  • Sexual differentiation
  • Sexual orientation
  • Transsexuality

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Authors

  • D. F. Swaab

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