The genetic basis of murine and human sex determination: a review

Heredity (Edinb). 1995 Dec;75 ( Pt 6):599-611. doi: 10.1038/hdy.1995.179.

Abstract

Determination of mammalian sex depends on the presence or absence of a functional testis. Testes are determined by the activity of the testis determining factor encoded by the sex determining gene, Y (SRY) located on the Y chromosome. Considerable evidence suggests that the SRY gene is the only gene on the Y chromosome that is both necessary and sufficient to initiate testis determination. Other steps in the mammalian sex determining pathway are unknown, although recent advances have shown that mutations in X chromosome and autosomal loci are also associated with sex reversal, suggesting the presence of at least one other sex determining gene. Duplications of sequences on the short arm of the human X chromosome, including the DAX-1 (DSS-AHC critical region on the X chromosome, gene 1) gene, are occasionally associated with XY male-to-female sex reversal. In addition, mutations in the SRY-related gene SOX9 (SRY-related box) are associated with a failure of human testicular determination. Furthermore, the occurrence of inherited sex reversed conditions in both mice and men indicate the presence of at least one other sex determining gene. Breeding the Y chromosome from certain Mus musculus domesticus strains into the laboratory mouse strain C57BL/6J results in XY male-to-female sex reversal. This suggests both allelic variation of the Sry gene and the presence of autosomal sex determining genes. In humans, familial cases of SRY-negative XX males occur. Analysis of the transmission of the trait indicates the segregation of an autosomal or X-linked recessive mutation. The mutation may be in a gene whose wild-type function is to inhibit male sex determination. SRY may trigger male sex determination by repressing or functionally antagonizing the product of this gene.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Disorders of Sex Development
  • Female
  • Fushi Tarazu Transcription Factors
  • Glycoproteins*
  • Growth Inhibitors
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Sex Determination Analysis*
  • Sex Differentiation
  • Sex-Determining Region Y Protein
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1
  • Testicular Hormones
  • Transcription Factors

Substances

  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fushi Tarazu Transcription Factors
  • Glycoproteins
  • Growth Inhibitors
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • SRY protein, human
  • Sex-Determining Region Y Protein
  • Sry protein, mouse
  • Steroidogenic Factor 1
  • Testicular Hormones
  • Transcription Factors
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone