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Sex ItselfThe Search for Male and Female in the Human Genome$
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Sarah S. Richardson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226084688

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226084718.001.0001

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A New Molecular Science of Sex

A New Molecular Science of Sex

Chapter:
(p.61) Chapter 4 A New Molecular Science of Sex
Source:
Sex Itself
Author(s):

Sarah S. Richardson

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226084718.003.0004

A direct intellectual and institutional context for the development of the sex chromosome concept during the period from 1915 through 1930 was the concurrent and spectacular development of sex hormone research. With its rich resources, medical applications, and powerful institutional platform, the new molecular biology of sex drew the X and Y chromosomes into its center of gravity and folded them into the thick scientific account of sex it purported to offer. Through this process, the sex chromosomes began to take on firmer form in both popular and scientific understanding. Sex chromosomes began to emerge from the shadow of the sex hormones in the 1950s and 1960s, when the X and Y debuted in human genetics. Through widely publicized and sometimes sensational scientific discoveries about human sex chromosome anomalies such as Klinefelter and Turner syndromes, the sex chromosomes moved to the fore as the central pillars of the human sex binary.

Keywords:   Sex hormones, Human genetics, Klinefelter syndrome, Turner syndrome

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