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New Sex Determination Gene Identified

  October, 27 2006 14:28
your information resource in human molecular genetics
Mutations in a gene called RSPO1 result in female to male sex reversal, according to a study to be published in the November 2006 issue of Nature Genetics.

Giovanna Camerino and colleagues studied an Italian family in which four brothers were identified as having two X chromosomes -- the female complement of sex chromosomes. Such female to male sex reversal is extremely rare, and is usually accompanied by translocation of the male sex-determining gene SRY from the Y chromosome to one of the other chromosomes. In this family, however, the SRY gene is not present, suggesting another genetic cause of sex reversal. The authors identified mutations in RSPO1 -- which encodes R-spondin1, a member of a small family of proteins that are secreted by cells -- in all of the brothers. This study represents the first time that the mutation of a single gene has been shown to cause complete female to male sex reversal in the absence of SRY, and shows that RSPO1 is also an essential ovary-determining gene.

Author contact:

Giovanna Camerino (University of Pavia, Italy)
E-mail: camerino@unipv.it

Abstract available online.

(C) Nature Genetics press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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