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Tuesday, August 31, 2004


The brains of males and females have a number of specific structural differences. In rats, one is that in males, the BNST area contains more cells than in females, and the AVPV area less. This difference is, like many sex differences, determined by the presence or absence of testosterone early in life (meaning that the "female" is the default state).

A study just published finds that these differences seem to be mediated by a single gene: Bax, which is key to apoptosis. Bax knockout mice have equal numbers of cells in both areas, regardless of gender (or should we say sex? I'm not up on my current identity politics...). I am definitely looking forward to the behavioral examinations mentioned at the end!

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