Morphology of the external genitalia of the adult male and female mice as an endpoint of sex differentiation

Dana A Weiss, Esequiel Rodriguez Jr., Tristan J Cunha, Julia Menshenina, Dale Barcellos, Lok Yun Chan, Gail P Risbridger, Laurence S Baskin, Gerald R Cunha

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Adult external genitalia (ExG) are the endpoints of normal sex differentiation. Detailed morphometric analysis and comparison of adult mouse ExG has revealed 10 homologous features distinguishing the penis and clitoris that define masculine vs. feminine sex differentiation. These features have enabled the construction of a simple metric to evaluate various intersex conditions in mutant or hormonally manipulated mice. This review focuses on the morphology of the adult mouse penis and clitoris through detailed analysis of histologic sections, scanning electron microscopy, and three-dimensional reconstruction. We also present previous results from evaluation of non-traditional mammals, such as the spotted hyena and wallaby to demonstrate the complex process of sex differentiation that involves not only androgen-dependent processes, but also estrogen-dependent and hormone-independent mechanisms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94 - 102
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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